Normal Is Overrated

Musings and meanderings on the autistic spectrum

April 11, 2008

Do You Know What You’re Supporting?

So tomorrow’s the big Walk for Autism in Atlanta.

And this Georgian isn’t going.

I’ve already written in the past about Autism Speaks, the organization sponsoring this walk, in a good bit of depth, but I’ll just reiterate things in a shorter fashion to drive the point home:

I refuse to support an organization whose idea of treatment isn’t to try to find a way for autistics to function in a hostile world, but rather to “ultimately eradicate autism for the sake of future generations”, in the words of its founder.

I refuse to support an organization which talks all the time about the peril of autistic children, while seeming to forget about us autistic adults, or at most, giving us only a passing mention.

I refuse to support an organization which falsely appears to speak for autistics, when not a single person on the autistic spectrum can be found amongst its board of directors or anywhere else in its leadership.

I refuse to support an organization with a vice president who openly admits to having wanted to drive off a bridge with her autistic daughter in frustration, in front of that very daughter, while cameras are running to record the moment for posterity in a fund-raising documentary.

And in this repudiation, I’m not claiming autistics don’t need support, services, or any other help. Even though I’m on the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum, I’ve had many moments where I could easily have used a helping hand…or several. I, too, go into meltdowns when I’m feeling stressed or overloaded; I, too, would very much benefit from accommodations that allowed me to actually meet halfway, rather than exerting even more effort than most people dream of just to maintain an appearance of normality.

But this help should be provided with respect. Respect for who we are, for the fact that autism is a pervasive developmental disorder and not just something that can be taken out of us like a tumor. Respect for the fact that our brains work differently, and that methods of teaching which may work perfectly well for a typical child (or adult!) may not work at all for us. Respect for the fact that we may still be aware of what’s going on around us, what’s being said about us, even when it doesn’t look like we understand a word.

Strangely enough, organizations for other neurological disorders—disorders with even more of a popular stigma than autism—get it. See, for instance, Joel Smith’s comparison of Autism Speaks’ rhetoric with that of the National Down Syndrome Society for just one example.

But unfortunately, even with plenty of protest by autistics all around the country, the world, and the Internet, Autism Speaks just doesn’t seem to grasp this idea.

And that is why I cannot honestly support them.

Filed under: Autism Speaks,Controversies — codeman38 @ 7:20 pm

April 8, 2008

Apropos of completely nothing

Hm, I’ve posted on the 1st, 2nd and 4th of this month so far. I really ought to post something today, even if it’s just this short ramble, just so that I keep up the exponential trend. Unfortunately, that’d only give me one more day this month to post, so I’ll probably end up posting on some date that’s not a power of 2 anyway.

…Yeah, I’m way too easily amused.

(Hey, this is sort of related to autism, in that we autistics often have an eye for patterns… 😛)

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:11 pm

April 4, 2008

All for one and one for all

For those who haven’t already heard via other blogs about the subpoena that’s been sent to autism blogger Kathleen Seidel, please, do yourself a favor and read her post on it.

Seriously, this has practically left me speechless at the moment. I’ll definitely be posting more on this later.

But for right now, I just want to touch on some of the aspects of this subpoena that I found most ridiculous:


Filed under: Controversies,Kathleen Seidel — codeman38 @ 11:34 pm

April 2, 2008

Autism awareness: Now with more awareness of autistics

For those who hadn’t heard, today was designated the first ever Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations. And I really expected the worst from the media, being the cynical aspie that I am.

And to be fair, there were some bits of coverage that had me screaming at the TV. Like a certain evening talk show which covered the issue of vaccines and autism in what sounded to me more like a shouting match than a rational debate. And for that matter, I’m glad I don’t get the Sundance channel either, because they showed the extended version of a certain autism ‘awareness’ film that I’ve already criticized here in the past.

But yet, despite this, today was surprisingly not a total loss when it came to coverage of autism in the media.


Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:22 pm

Blogging for Autism Awareness Month

You’ll probably notice a new button over on the sidebar. I figured, since I am planning on using this month to post about various autism-related topics, the least I can do is join the blog swarm that’s been created just for that purpose.

More to come later today, once I’ve gotten a bit more of a chance to digest all of today’s media coverage…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:45 pm

April 1, 2008

No foolin’ around

So I haven’t posted here in quite a while, a sad fact which, to be honest, I fully realize. I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t really had the time to think up any interesting material for posts, or even when I did have ideas, was just too tired to put them into words.

But that’s going to be changing this month.

Why? It’s not because I’m less stressed; far from it, in fact. It’s that time of the semester where everything starts building up all at once.

Rather, it’s because the month of April has been designated as Autism Awareness Month. And the whole reason I started this blog in the first place was to make people more aware of not just my experiences, but even my mere existence, as an autistic adult.

And that’s important. We autistic adults do exist— and for all this talk of awareness, there seems to be comparatively little awareness of this fact, and even less of an attempt at bringing awareness to it. When it is brought up by certain prominent autism organizations which make frequent appearances in media coverage of autism, autistic adults usually get a very minor mention, if any at all, in comparison to the very frequent focus on children with autism. Not that children aren’t worth our attention, but children do grow up, after all, and they don’t magically become un-autistic.

So yeah. It may be April Fool’s Day today, but I’m starting this month off here quite seriously— and I’m going to be putting my autistic perseveration skills to good use the rest of this month as well. 😉

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 4:32 pm

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