On the Aspie Side

ASD & Violation of Basic Human Rights

I have been reading quite a bit on human rights and disability both in the media and in philosophy, and I am appalled at the power the label “disability” has alleviated human beings of their agency and their rights.

brain-marionette

Human rights are defined universally by the UN with specific charters for women and the disabled. I urge everyone to actually look it up themselves. And, please note as well the countries that didn’t sign, didn’t ratify, and/or put tons of caveats.

The basic point is that each human is just by virtue of being human is entitled to universal rights.

The principles of the present [disability rights] Convention shall be:

  1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
  2. Non-discrimination;
  3. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
  4. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
  5. Equality of opportunity;
  6. Accessibility;
  7. Equality between men and women;
  8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

Here are some of the ways in which Autistics have faced human rights abuses at the hands of their caregivers and the public:

  1. Obsession with Cures/Pre-Natal Testing/Anti-vaxx: Hate of difference. This kind of crap LGBTQI also went through. Can we cure it? Fix it? Prevent it? They even get angry at Autistics for speaking out against this hate because we “clearly can’t understand” what the parents and their kid are going through, mostly the parents. They want to wipe us out of the gene pool by any means necessary, including refusing their NT child the life-saving properties of vaccines that have literally no connection to Autism whatsoever. Why? The medical profession has made billions on the idea that Autism is a disease that they could cure, but even they are now saying they cannot reduce Autism to a single cause or magic bullet product. The move inevitably will be toward acceptance, and hopefully a treatment for the worst co-morbids.
  2. Freedom to Have Independence Often Barred: Our ability to make choices and have independence is often tied to our diagnosis. We’re either denied rights because we haven’t been diagnosed, unemployed, and are stuck under the control of family or diagnosed and on disability, or can’t seem to get out of the cycle of bad employment followed by no employment. All of the above infringes upon our ability to lead productive lives. Granted the other end of the spectrum is a bit less and less able to make free decisions, but it should be fostered to the best of their ability.
  3. Reproductive Rights Taken Away: This was mentioned in a repugnant book by a Judith Newman (I refuse to plug her here), but I have seen numerous blog posts as well, mostly written by mothers who think their children will never be capable of raising a child. They may not entirely be wrong in all cases, but they should be given ample time to determine it. Yet, I keep seeing this discussion of wanting the right to force vasectomies and hysterectomies on Autistic children. The youngest I’ve seen was eight. They don’t even know what he or she will be like at 18 or 26 or 32 and yet they are ready to make life-changing procreation choices for them? Is this out of concern for care or is this out of fear of more Autistic people in the world?
  4. Growth into Adulthood Denied: In the same vein, removing the sexual organs before puberty would keep the child from growing further. At least one mother argued that keeping her child small will make them easier to care for as she grew old. Humans aren’t dollies to carry around. Disability doesn’t grant you the ability to alter someone in this way. What does this also say the mother? Our healthcare system?
  5. Children Taken: I know of one woman whose children were taken from her once she was diagnosed, although I admittedly don’t know the whole story.
  6. Disability Discrimination: “But, you don’t look Autistic.” “Autistics can’t [insert random life action here]. My friend’s cousin is Autistic, so I know.” “You can’t be Autistic; your eye contact is too good.” “You’re not Autistic, you’re just lazy.” “Retard!” “Weirdo! Freak!” We are constantly insulted or back-handed completed for masking well. We are called names for not fitting in. We can’t get the help we need without an embarrassingly patronizing display from healthcare professionals, and so on.
  7. Work Discrimination: The right to better ourselves is often denied us by hostile work environments that becoming more and more homogenized. Accommodations are woefully lacking and often insufficient. People gossip, manipulate, and back-stab normally, but they were worse towards those with invisible disabilities that they can make use or fun of. It’s exhausting. Trying to “pass” as normal doubles the damage, and further leaves us with severe self-esteem issues.
  8. Diagnosis Male-Oriented and therefore Male-Biased: Female diagnostic criteria for ASD is still not in the DSM. Still.

I’m not seeing any of these values in the treatment of those of us with hidden disabilities, with extra emphasis on ASD because of our social deficits. This is rather eye opening.

Seeds of Autism

A social justice mural was vandalized in less than 24 hours after it was painted on the seeds of autism12th of this month in Gainesville, Florida. “It was shocking because Gainesville is a very friendly, open, groovy, inclusive town,” Shirley Lasseter, member of the Gainesville/Ocala chapter of Women’s March Florida, told CNN. And the rest of the country thought, “It’s still the South.”

What is glaringly new is the use of Autism in a political statement. It is so out of place I have to wonder if it doesn’t mean the same thing to the fringe right as everyone else, since they have their own little hate glossary with meanings drawn completely from conspiracy conman Alex Jones or some such place. I’m going to have to dig to find out how they believe this ties together. Perhaps they think liberal values have caused the so-called “autism epidemic”? I had to investigate.

I tested out a bunch of terms starting with “seeds of Autism” since that was the phrase they created. That came up with one BBoard site called Ar15. I’m not linking to their dross. You can google that one yourself if you must. But, the line that stuck with me was one post that asked, “What fun is it trolling the leftist if they are too stupid to understand the joke?” A few other posts list other seemingly unrelated memes about a frog, and I was still perplexed.

Next I googled “‘Autism’ right wing glossary” et voila. Buzzfeed produced. “The Normal Person’s Guide to How the Far Right Troll Talk to Each Other” or “A Glossary of Far Right Terms and Memes”. And, my expected translation was fairly close except it was a trolling joke. So, for all my lefties, here’s how the thought process goes:

NEETS stands for “No Education, Employment, or Training” which self-deprecatingly refers to 4chan’rs that are loony right wing and also live in mom’s basement that spends all day playing video games or on the internet that may be on the spectrum. They call people who work, oddly enough, wagecucks or wage slaves. Unclear how they think the “free market” economy can work if all these twats don’t contribute, but whatever.

REEEEEEE! is the angry shriek of a 4chan’r. “Typically, it’s used to show anger at “normies” for invading their online spaces. There are memes of Pepe the Frog making that noise when he’s angry.” Presumably, Pepe then becomes the image of an angry alt-right loon when a lefty enters their forum.

Pepe the Frog is “A cartoon smiling frog created innocuously by comic artist Matt Furie that has, over time, become the official mascot of far-right extremism in the US and parts of Europe.”

Don’t you feel educated now? So, to sum up, the followers of Pepe, aka NEETs, were accusing the left of causing Autism with our politics to rile us up in some PC froth, but only managed to confuse everyone. Now they are just licking their wounds and blaming us for being too stupid to understand their memes without a f’ing translation. I’d call this a fail for the home team.

Further this has nothing to do with Autism really, good or bad. There’s nothing further to read into it. It’s for the most part been ignored post-CNN coverage, so, of course, I had to understand it, as if making sense of the alt-right is even feasible.

“Am I mad,” as the troll face always asks? No, I find it childish and in amazingly poor taste, but no, I’m not mad. I have plenty of real things in my life that warrant more of my energy, but I am angry that this mural was graffitied. Someone on that BBoard called the mural graffiti and likened the vandalism to the mural itself, as if the two can be equated just because it portrays politics they don’t like. Talk about twisting facts! More alt-facts. I’d like to know if there were any arrests.

Anne with an E

With the exception of her lovely fantasy world and her terminal vanity, I identified annewithecompletely with Anne with an E. I see Vanity Fair is having a fit over the reworking of the story, but I just adore her. Her battle to survive and be accepted feels so much like my normal. Including her understandable PTSD, she’s definitely an Aspie.

Okay, so what if she saves the day twice in one season? So what if turn-of-the-century Ontario isn’t all roses and sweetness? This seems more like a real world, and rough like life is for an Aspie child. Imagine if you, Miss Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair, actually understood what it’s like to be misunderstood and feel constantly like one giant shredded nerve.

Conversely, if you want to complain about a movie not matching the book. You should be far more offended by the movie version of Hitchhiker’s Guide. It was a terrible disappointment because they ruined Douglas Adams’ jokes. Never mind the pathetic version of Zaphod, all the missing scenes, and the reduction of a brilliant Trillian to a dim damsel in distress, they actual cut his humor, which is far more of an atrocity than the rest. And, this was never claimed to be “based on”. It was supposed to be half of what Adams had adapted, written himself, as a script before he passed. I wish I never saw it. Let’s keep outrage where it’s appropriate, hmm?

I don’t honestly care how well Anne with an E keeps to the Anne of Green Gables story. It’s only based on the story, it isn’t the exact story. The exact words from Wikipedia are, “series based on the 1908 novel”. They intentionally made it their own, and I think they created a new version that beefed up what many had suspected about Anne’s neurotype and her devastating life. Perhaps it doesn’t mirror the book, but it certainly mirrors the reality of being the outcast.

I’ve been the girl a parent says their child can’t go near for nothing more than horrible assumptions. I’ve been the girl the popular girls corner and taunt. I’ve been the girl that hides in the tutoring room during lunch because I had nowhere else to sit. I’ve been the girl that was punished by teachers for things I never did, publicly humiliated and privately apologized to. Is Anne with an E believable? Emphatically YES.

It certainly more believable than the an poor orphan being immediately popular with wealthy townies. Seriously, what does everyone think of foster kids right now even? Humans were no nicer or accepting then than now. Let’s get a grip. Life was never Little House on the Prairie.

That all said and certainly more importantly, the Aspie traits I see in Anne are as follows, and feel free to comment and deny or add anything you like.

  1. The fantasy world Anne retreats to to get the acceptance she craves.
  2. The loud and very chatty behavior Anne has on topics of her interest.
  3. The well-read knowledge she has for her age, including the large vocabulary.
  4. The “get out of my way and let me fix it” attitude, even towards adults.
  5. The inability to tell what is inappropriate knowledge to share with peers.
  6. The play acting out how she thinks conversations with go in a social setting.
  7. The desperate attempt to follow the social rules she’s told directly.

After watching the series with my father, my mother for the first time in my 41 years actually said she finally could comprehend the abuse I received in grade school. Imagine that!? That’s enough for me to give this puppy an A+.