TW: ableism Autistic people are often described as robotic, emotionless, almost not human. We are said to lack empathy, creativity, imagination, social skills, emotional intelligence, intuitiveness (is that a word?). Meanwhile these are the characteristics valued the most in society (with the exception of intelligence). These ideas may be true to a certain extent, butFortsätt läsa ”More thoughts on judgement and not being good enough”
TW: mental illness and suicide I am depressed. I have been depressed for many years. I think it started when I hit puberty at 12. It can not be a coincidence that that’s when I started losing motivation and things I used to like were not fun anymore. It’s also around the time I startedFortsätt läsa ”Depression”
So let’s tackle a complicated subject. Autism and empathy. It is a common stereotype still, that autistics can not feel empathy, and it may be the single most damaging stereotype there is. Not the most inaccurate neccessarily, but probably the most damaging, along with the idea that autstic people are violent. Many people have triedFortsätt läsa ”Empathy”
I have to say, out of all the issues regarding autism or various other topics I think the exact wording of things is not and should not be considered the most important. In the online autistic community, it’s often made clear by advocates that they prefer to be reffered to as autistics rather than peopleFortsätt läsa ”Person first vs Identity first”
I am one of those people who think language policing often goes way too far, and the exact wording of things isn’t nearly as important as the content of what someone is saying. I do think there are more important things to focus on than getting the wording exactly right all the time, and people do not deserve to be attacked or condemned as horrible people for mistakenly usings words that others consider to be offensive. However, language is how we communicate, and when using certain words change the meaning of what you’re saying, it becomes important. So the reason I for instance think the use of the word disorder when describing autism is “problematic”, is because, as I’ve previously stated, it implies that there something wrong with the autistic brain. I do not know whether everyone who uses it does it with the intention of communicating that, but it is what is being communicated nonetheless. It does matter whether the term used is inherently negative or neutral, since using a negative term communicates that it is something bad. In the case of autism, this view is already widespread. It would be really refreshing if people could move towards more neutral, less negative and stigmatizing language when describing it, for the mental health and well-being of autistics. Being told that there is something wrong with you your entire life can have devastating effects on your self-esteem, and may even lead to some autistic people not living up to their full potential, since they think they are not appriciated and accepted for who they are (which is unfortunately true). It is true though also that changing the terms used is not enough, changing the underlying attitudes that lead people to use stigmatizing language is whats needed for autistic people to truly be accepted and appriciated. I wish I had a simpleFortsätt läsa ”Language”
Autism is often referred to as either high functioning or low functioning. There maybe something in between as well, though I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the term medium functioning. Anyway. A lot of autistic people have issues with this terminology since it is often innacurate. Whether someone is high functioning is often determined by whether they can speak at a normal level or have a normal to high IQ. None of these things make it so that you are automatically funtioning at a high level. You may have a high IQ but not be able to have a job for instance, something that is considered essential in our society. Someone with a lower IQ may be able to “funtion” better in the sense that they can contribute more to society. Sometimes having a high awareness of how others percieve you can be disabling since the public perception of autistic people is generally not very great and can cause a lot of anxiety in the autistic people. Also, whether someone is high or low funtioning can change from day to day and throughout someones life. You can not nesseccarily label someone high funtioning and expect them to stay that way forever, and same thing goes with low funtioning. Now I don’t know personally what it’s like to be labelled as low funtioning, but I could imagine that it would not be very nice to have that label on you for your entire life. Like people have decided once that you’re not going to be capable of acheiving much at all. I could imagine that being bad for someones self-esteem. Some people also seem to expect “high functioning” people to be able to act completely normal as well, which is of course not likely going to be the case, since were still autistic. As for my self, I’m a so called “high functioning” autisic going by the conventional labels, but in the literal sense I’m very low functioning at the moment. Though I attribute most of that to my anxiety and depression. It seems like normal people judge an austictics intelligence by how normal they appear, as if appearing less normal automatically makes someone less intelligent,Fortsätt läsa ”Functioning labels”
Autism is considered a disorder and reffering to it as such is in no way controversial. Refusing to refer to it as a disorder is rather more controversial. It’s reffered to as ASD, which literally means autism spectrum disorder. Sometimes it is reffered to as a disease or illness, mostly by ignorant people, since it’s not officially considered a disease or illness. Autistic people are not sick. Sometimes non-autistic people in studies are reffered to as “healthy” controls, as if being autistic makes you unhealthy. This is done by people who should know better. Autism has nothing to do with health, you can be perfectly healthy and autistic. Autism has to do with how your brain functions. How you think and perceive information. A different way of thinking is not a disease and should not be considered a disease. Organizations like autism speaks have basically compared autism to cancer (in the I Am Autism video), as if its deadly or something. Autism is of course not deadly and should not be compared to anything that is. It’s pretty incredible how a different way of thinking and perceiving the world can be seen as such a horrible thing that it should literally be compared to something that kills you. That just goes to show how negatively large segments of society views autism and consequently autistic people. It is assumed that anything that is too differentFortsätt läsa ”What should autism be considered”
Massive TW for ableism One reason ableism can be really hard to get rid of is that there is quite a strong case for it. It didn’t come out of nowhere. Many philosophies and political ideologies are ableist in some ways. Take the social contract theory of morality for instance. The idea is basically that you should act in ways that are moral because you gain something from it personally. By being useful to others they are in turn going to be useful to you, so therefore you should act in ways that are good for others. It’s basically about exchanging favours between people. Now, of course, this only works if the person in question is capable of being useful. The social contract theory is often used as justification to deny certain beings moral consideration, like animals. It’s a common argument against animals rights: that because animals can’t be useful to humans, or at least not have moral obligations towards us, they cannot have rights either. Some people make an exception for humans, how they justify it I don’t know, but if you follow the theory to its logical conclusion, it would mean that certain disabled people, those who are not capable of being useful to society, do not deserve any moral consideration. And whenever you have people making the case for eugenics, or for euthanizing the disabled, which people still do, it’s often justified using the social contract theory, that they do not matter since they are not useful and in order to deserve moral consideration you have to be useful. Of course, there are other moral philosophies than the social contract theory. An other one that can be used to justify ableism, but can also conflict with the social contract theory is utilitarianism. According to utilitarianism, all that really matters is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain as much as possible. It is not that disabled people doFortsätt läsa ”The case for ableism”
Ableism is a word that can be and has been defined in different ways by different people and thus it’s not obvious what the “correct” definition is. It ranges from outright hatred of disabled people to simply viewing disability as a negative thing. It’s similar to racism and sexism in that it involves looking down on people because of a part of their identity. It can be described as being like racism, but race in this case is disability. It’s not very often talked about in the media, and many people probably have never even heard the term because of that. But no one can deny that it is a very real thing. It is not, from my experience, regarded as as bad as other “isms” like racism. It is not often condemned in the same way. There seems to be no “anti-ableist” movement that has been really prominent and well-known. If we use the most inclusive definition of ableism, most people are ableist to an extent. Most people regard disability as a bad thing, and do value others based on their abilies. One clear example of ableism is the “mass-aborting” of fetuses with down syndrome. Of course, the implication is that a life with down syndrome is not worth living. Apparently there is current research, or at least has been, research into finding aFortsätt läsa ”Ableism”
I have the diagnosis of autism. My relationship to this diagnosis is complicated to say the least. It’s not easy to carry that label. It has a high cost. Maybe the cost is any credibility you may have with many people. This is why I’m chosing not to be open with it. I often think about the cost vs benefit of being openly autistic. I can’t see that it has more benefits than disadvantages. Maybe it could help other people who are also autistic. But ultimately, it might not be worth it. Though it’s always nice to see other autistics come out. There are probably many who make the active choice not to come out because of what it would do to their reputation. It’s hard to break the stigma, and one person can not do it alone. Autistics are about 1% of the popluation. That means 99% are not autistic so of course autistics will be at a disadvantage in getting their voice heard. So often the people talking about autism are the so called experts, not autistics themselves. But autistics often have other ways of describing autism than non-autistic ”experts”. One thing that has been said many times is that autsitic people are the only experts on autism. It has a lot of truth to it. Sadly, autism is described in the ways normal people percieve it. And often they percieve the autistic way of being as negative, so the descriptions are very negative, almost like they were made with the intent of making autsitic people feel inferior. Playing with toys in an unusual way becomes ”playing in an innapropriate” way. Stimming becomes ”repetitive, meaningless behaviours” as if normal people can decide what is ”meaningless” or not. These are not neccessarily direct quotes, but these are more or less the descriptions you can read of autism. What they are saying when they say it’s meaningless is that they dont understand the point. That does not mean it has no point. That it does not fill a function for the person. Take dancing asFortsätt läsa ”Being not normal”
Något gick fel. Ladda om sidan och/eller försök igen.
Följ min blogg
Få nytt innehåll direkt till din inkorg.