Category Archives: ableist language

Really Getting Tired of “So-and-So Supports”

There is a magical talisman.

It’s AMAZING.

See – this talisman says that if “such-and-such” member of a minority supports “such-and-such” campaign, viewpoint, person, organization that says things that could be (and often is) found offensive by other members of that minority – then it’s all okay – because it’s been approved.

There’s a “minority approval” sticker which means that if you just get maybe a couple of famous people and a handful of others who are members of this minority to agree with offensive thing – it’s magically not offensive.

At least – so is the apparent belief.

Dealing with not offending people is hard – I do understand that – you can’t speak for getting it wrong. You have to ALWAYS ask first, be ready with sincere apology, not allow yourself to think your intent makes it “okay”, and if you can’t ask first you have to go with the largest consensus you know of on the topic (But ready with that apology). It can also be really hard because there are lots of members of minorities who are exceptionally tired of being “ambassadors for all [insert the minority they’re part of]”.

But one of the things you really need to pay attention to is:

Where is the consensus coming from?

Today is November 1st – it is the 4th Annual Autistics Speaking Day.

It is also the 4th Annual “Communication Shutdown” Day.

The Autistics Speaking Day was sparked by autistics who were arguing against the stereotype put forth by Communication Shutdown that communication difficulties with autistics is all the fault of or entirely upon the shoulders of those who are autistics and that not communicating on Facebook or Twitter is somehow comparable.

The “Communication Shutdown” was sparked by a bunch of charities for autism and it’s part of their “awareness” efforts (its interesting how there are so many charities for autism that want to raise awareness and so few wanting to raise acceptance [also notable how many of those that want to raise acceptance were started by or have autistics on their boards – and how few of the ones that want to raise awareness do])). Basically you get to pay money for an app that will put a picture on your Facebook or Twitter that lets you tell people you’re taking part (regardless of if you interact on those media sites or otherwise anyway).

It’s solely for fundraising basically. Fundraising for a group of charities “for autism” but probably not for autistics. It’s one of those token things like the ALS ice bucket challenge – to give able-bodied, non-disabled people the idea that they’re SOMEHOW seeing what it’s like to live with such-and-such disability without actually living that disability and on the basis of only one possible difficulty in relation to that disability and not the thousands of others that are involved or are knocked over like a domino topple by this issue so that it spills into more areas of your life.

It’s rarely EVER one thing.

Person stuck in a wheelchair? Put ramps everywhere for their wheelchairs.

Fixed the problem? Nope.

Because you’ve got to have sufficiently dropped curbs, the door sizes need to be of a reasonable height, can they reach light switches or other things that are necessities for them to reach? Is there a reasonable exit? Is the meeting on the ground floor? Is there a lift? What if there’s a fire and you’re not supposed to use the lift? What if the fire truck can’t get there in time to take them down a ladder out of the building?

Is the reason their in a wheelchair JUST their legs? What if their arms are effected? Neck? Do they have intellectual disabilities? Muscle/bone weakness?

I’m not saying it can’t be one thing – but even if it IS – there is no one small catch-all solution – there are still a thousand of other things that it effects.

My autism does affect how I effectively communicate. People’s allistic and neurotypical experience of the world effects how well they can get what I’m saying. But that’s not all that’s happening – and just “fixing” my communication problems are NOT going to solve my problems.

I hear that Temple Grandin “supports ‘Communication Shutdown'” and I can’t help but sigh in an exaggerated way.

Yeah – I’ve seen autistics who support that kind of thing. Ones that insist that they’re not disabled (Good for you! I am disabled so please stop telling everyone that ‘autistics aren’t disabled’ – because I NEED HELP YOU DON’T). I’ve seen ones that support ABA and horrible attitudes/parenting decisions. Ones that tell parents who film their children’s meltdowns that they’re “sorry for what they’re going through” and that the parents are “so brave”.

I’ve seen ones that ask really offensive and ableist questions.

And the fact that they’re walking around identifying as autistic and some of them even with diagnosis to prove it – doesn’t mean that their approval of offensive things doesn’t make them no longer offensive.

Sometimes it means they’ve internalized ableism.

Which makes me sad.

Because maybe we have something in common.

But you’re not speaking with me.

You’re speaking against me.

Which is depressing as I have nothing against you and I don’t in anyway want to make your life worse – but I would like to make my life better, and the lives of all other autistics that I can help in anyway.

But sometimes – that’s just how it plays out.

But just because someone in a minority approves. Doesn’t mean you have the approval and support of all the minority – and if more of us speak out against you – then what we’re saying – should be listened to.

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Filed under ableist language, autism, autistic self advocates, human, learning, reaction

Shouldn’t It Go Without Saying?

Hello and welcome to my new blog!

All of you whom know me well and are thinking to yourselves “Oh gods – not another one – shouldn’t you be concentrating on actually keeping a blog alive rather than just creating new ones all the time?” you can find tea and biscuits to your left and are asked politely to shush. I’ve not abandoned my blogs on Quora or my other word press blog (Hawk Vs. House), this is just something a little more general and a little more free to express myself on. Here I’ll be talking about my autism, autism in general and just my daily life – less focused or restrictive in subject and more free flowing.

To the rest of you, whether you are new or know me but not ever so well (and even if you know me well but are willing to read anyway) let us begin.

Why is the name of the blog: “An Autist Human”?

Shouldn’t the fact that autistic people are human be so obvious that it can go unsaid?

You’d think.

The painful fact however is that frequently members of the autistic community are having to remind people that we are in fact human beings. Not robots and not wild animals.

As I sat in the car talking with my grandmother (or more closely – at my grandmother and occasionally letting her speak – I tend to dominate conversations with my loved ones not because I don’t want to hear what they want to say but because there’s so much I want to share with them going on in my head I just blurt it all out), I mentioned to her how there had been a falling out between autistics and self-proclaimed “martyr moms” on a online community page and how the “martyr moms” had stated that even if ABA was abusive, which given the number of autistic people left traumatized or with long-term PTSD due to their experiences with ABA I’m inclined to say that it is, it was necessary because they needed to control “animalistic behaviors”.

My grandmother and I came to an agreement.

We are in fact animals. In the sense that all human beings are animals and all autistics are human beings (exactly the same as the “martyr moms”). The problematic aspect of having ones behavior be classed as animalistic and being described as animals by “martyr moms” is that they do not mean human animals and they are asserting distancing language¬†that tries to imply that we do not have the same rights or characteristics to be able to identify ourselves as human. “Martyr moms” are trying to give the impression that autistics like their children and the adults with autism that they find all over the internet are not of the same species by virtue of perceived behavior.

They, and a vast swathe of the public, need to be reminded repeatedly Рthat the only animal autistics are Рis human. Just like them.

This is why I chose the title of the blog that I did. It is to act as a constant reminder for as long as anyone is on this page and reading my words – that I am in fact human.

And that really needs to be ever present in people’s minds when we discuss topics. Because it’s important.

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Filed under ableist language, autism, beginnings, human, problematic language