Categories
Spectrum

Lines – Amber (Part 2)

Sometimes the same behaviors in a person {read as} neurotypical would not even be noticed.

But because people with autism are scrutinized all day, every day, by teachers, therapists, parents, and almost everyone else around them, their behaviors are labeled, treated […]

Partial quote, Lisa Jo Rudy

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When you tell me there is no such thing as normal, this is true, in a sense. The things we as a society prize as normal can not all be found in one person. […] There is no one ‘normal’ person, never was, never will be. So many of us are more comfortable with people like ourselves that we take as normal those with a certain amount of similarity to ourselves, and if we have sufficient power in society, this normal may override the normals of others.

Alyssa Hillary

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There is simply no need to speak at all of ‘what makes us human’ in scientific discourse. What makes us human is nothing, save perhaps our rich diversity.

Sophie Vivian

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A lot of people think they can relate {to my struggles} which means it’s brushed under the carpet as not a big deal.

Partial quote, Amy Miller

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“You know how it is. People like that . . . they don’t experience emotions the same way that you and I do.” […]

I thought about telling her [that I am autistic]. I chose not to. I’m not sure what it would have accomplished if I had told her […] revealing myself to be a person like that

The truth is, I don’t experience emotions in the same way as that woman who spoke to me about her disabled clients. Or in the same way that you do. No one does.

Human beings are cognitively and behaviorally diverse. We are so diverse that we defy taxonomy entirely.

There really is no norm, no fixed point of reference from which to deviate.

Caroline Narby

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[F]ew issues are completely exclusive to one group, but some things affect some groups more strongly than others, and that can be very important.

Elizabeth Bartmess

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[S]ome critics […] suggest abandoning the term ‘autism’ altogether. In their opinion, labelling autistic people as such was merely a mistake: We thought there was a natural category called ‘autism,’ but now that we know more about it, we can see that this was an error.

[I]dentifying as autistic may not be biologically meaningful, but it is politically meaningful

[W]e have our own communities, norms, and practices […] Autism, in other words, has begun to develop into a culture, and this culture opens up the space for autistic behaviors to begin to manifest as meaningful […] challeng[ing] existing standards of acceptability within […] dominant social and ideological framework[s]

Some of our most significant and deeply-entrenched human categories – like race and gender – are partly rooted in a constellation of physical elements, and partly in historically situated social construction.

They do not reside on a single gene, or even a network of genes, and yet they are both extremely ‘real’ and extremely important to our conceptions of self and others.

Robert Chapman

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When you are different it’s okay for you to not quite meet up with the rest of the world here and there, because most of the time, when it matters, everything syncs up.

When you are disabled you don’t have that luxury.

 

When you are disabled you have to prove, over and over again, that you are a real person […]

Julia Bascom

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In a world where autism exists, because we do taxonomize human difference and build systems of power around it, I am autistic.

Caroline Narby

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Categories
Spectrum

Lines – Glass (Part 2)

There are two definitions for inertia: 1) indisposition to motion, exertion, or change (“I don’t like or fear change.”) and 2) a property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force.

Generally speaking, people tend to be inert.  We develop habits, and we stick to them.  It doesn’t matter if the habits are good or bad.  We like predictability (“I like my car and would like to keep it.”).  We don’t want to be confronted on how we do things, what we think, or how we interact with others.  If it’s always been done a certain way, then most people will continue in this customary fashion from the smallest habit to the grandest cultural traditions.  In terms of inertia, this is called uniform motion.  For the most part, we like to remain in a state of uniform motion and/or rest, and this is not necessarily bad.  Society needs structure and uniformity to function from the nuclear family all the way to level of government.

In terms of health, this is called homeostasis.  The human body requires a certain amount of sleep.  We require vital nutrients, daylight, human interaction, physical touch, exercise, and clean air and water in order to maintain homeostasis.  All of this is part of uniform motion.  When an outside force acts upon this homeostatic inertia, that usually means a stressor has occurred like a virus, toxin, physical injury, genetic mutation, car accident, or the like, and homeostasis has been disrupted.  We are no longer inert.

MJ

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4.  When you regulate your daily actions, you deactivate your ‘fight or flight’ instincts because you’re no longer confronting the unknown.

This is why people have such a difficult time with change, and why people who are constant in their habits experience so much joy: simply, their fear instincts are turned off long enough for them to actually enjoy something.

5.  As children, routine gives us a feeling of safety. As adults, it gives us a feeling of purpose.

Interestingly enough, those two feelings are more similar than you’d think (at least, their origin is the same). It’s the same thing as the fear of the unknown: as children, we don’t know which way is left, let alone why we’re alive or whether or not a particular activity we’ve never done before is going to be scary or harmful. When we’re adults engaging with routineness, we can comfort ourselves with the simple idea of “I know how to do this, I’ve done it before.”

Brianna Wiest

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[T]here is something very different about how autistics react to novel and familiar things.  There is something very different about their preference for, and reliance on, repetition and routines.  But it’s not that they’re rigid while everyone else is flexible.  Neurotypicals are so inflexible that they insist on their social rituals even when it would jeopardize others’ safety.

Neurotypicals misunderstand other people, and inadvertently treat each other badly all the time – often in more damaging ways than autistics do.  Neurotypicals can be more rigid than any autistic about the rituals that matter to them.

The difference is that autistics and neurotypicals misunderstand other people in different ways and are inflexible about different things.

Because autistics are in the minority and sometimes lack the ability to explain or advocate for themselves, their way of misunderstanding and being rigid has been pathologized, while neurotypicals’ has been ignored.

Emily Morson

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[…] can we talk a little bit more about how much of autism therapy is about the therapist being rigid and controlling?

Alyssa Hillary

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Autistic people don’t all have a convenient love of tedious tasks everyone else hates. Some of us have the audacity to want jobs others want.

Ruti Regan

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(Under ‘Leadership/Management’)

How many times have you heard that you need to get the big picture? Or that you feel like you didn’t have the big picture? I’ve heard this phrase repeated too many times to count and each time I do the thought that runs through my mind is this: what exactly is the big picture and how can I get big picture thinking?

The fact is that the big picture depends on your point of view. I don’t believe anyone can truly have the big picture (serious emphasis on ‘big’) because it’s not possible to see the infinite number of influence points involved. In fact, the bigger the project, program or issue the more difficult it is for anyone – even the leader at the top – to have the big picture.

Christian Knutson

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They are fully aware of their entire environment. We are talking about a multifocalized attention.

Whilst the attention of a neurotypical individual only focuses on one point at a time.

People with this multifocalized attention are hypersensitive and perceptual. Thus, they have the ability to perceive the overall picture of a situation including all of the details, even those that usually go unnoticed for the majority of people. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for them to perceive only one thing at a time and to concentrate on it, if there is no relevant interest in doing so. […] These people perceive the global nature of their environment in a very complex way. They are sensitive to ambient noise, light, people’s movements, etc. They see and feel everything, constantly.

Out of context, Mélanie Ouimet

(translated by Tanya Izquierdo Prindle)

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Consider which two of these objects go together: a panda, a monkey and a banana.  Respondents from Western countries routinely select the monkey and the panda, because both objects are animals. This is indicative of an analytic thinking style, in which objects are largely perceived independently from their context.

In contrast, participants from Eastern countries will often select the monkey and the banana, because these objects belong in the same environment and share a relationship (monkeys eat bananas). This is a holistic thinking style, in which object and context are perceived to be interrelated.

Nicolas Geeraert

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There is a set of powerful visual learning tools used in schools, universities and workplaces all over the world that can help us better organize our ideas. […] thinking maps are a rich resource when it comes to creative analytical thinking processes. They help us visualize even the most complex ideas and make them tangible.

Orana Velarde

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I’d like to ask if we’re really more vulnerable to everyday emotional and physiological challenges or if we’re tired because we’re dealing with more of them. While I ask, I’d like to see how many neurotypical people can function while walking on an untreated broken foot. I’d also like to ask how many neurotypical people who unexpectedly found themselves unable to speak 10 minutes before they were scheduled to present at a conference would still present. Not more vulnerable than y’all, just dealing with more nonsense.

I think saying we are unusually poorly equipped to deal with certain challenges (lower threshold) and have fewer innate coping strategies is a simplification at best and wrong in places. We wind up getting into trouble more, that’s definitely true, but how would you cope in an environment designed for how I work? It’s often about mismatches.

Also, we have plenty of coping strategies. Noping out of bad environments (avoiding them) is an effective strategy when we’re allowed to use it, but it often gets called eloping because for some reason y’all want us there anyways. Covering our ears is a semi-effective way to deal with loud. Those things that get taken as signs that we’re getting dysregulated […] are often actually ways that we stay regulated, and that realization could (but only partially did) lead to the conclusion that we’re not so much short on coping methods as disallowed from using them.

Alyssa Hillary

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[P]lenty of people make choices that others would find terribly limiting – not teaching their children multiple language, not having children at all, working in a career that is emotionally rewarding but not financially so, or the reverse, codes of dress or diet restrictions imposed by religious belief. What right, then, do we have to criticize someone’s preference for the comfort of repetitive activities?

Restless Hands

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Some people might be better at certain things, we even call some of those people ‘geniuses’. But their ‘intelligence’ is the product of a concept of the time and place they live in. It is possible that, in another time, in another place, their ‘intelligence’ would not be ‘superior’.

Amy Sequenzia

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Categories
Spectrum

Labels (Part 1)

[…] as soon as someone says they’re on the autism spectrum, we categorize them and treat them differently.

Creigh, Caley

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It’s interesting the way that little label changes where the presumption lies.

If you’re NT and you decide to go explore a local park on a whim, you’re just indulging a whim. If you have ASD though, that’s ‘dangerous wandering’.

If you’re NT and you hire someone to do your cleaning or your lawn, you’re just freeing up spare time for yourself, but if you have ASD, you’re not ‘living independently.’

Cynthia Kim

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When I am open about being Autistic, I am handing people a weapon to punish me with. [Many times] my autism has been invoked during a disagreement. I have ended up leaving so many communities because I was told that I was only disagreeing because my autism meant I didn’t really understand. […]

Anytime someone wants to dismiss my opinion or experience, they point out that I am Autistic, as if that trumps anything and everything. […]

Telling people that I am Autistic gives them the opportunity to understand me better.

It also gives them the opportunity to dismiss anything and everything about me as irrelevant, deluded, pathological, unacceptable. No one has to provide a logical counter for anything I say because my words are Autistic words so they mean nothing. They are merely symptoms and can be disregarded.

Max Sparrow

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Like it or not, public perception of autism is not very diverse (yet). […] We need adjectives like ‘mild’ or ‘severe’ to help other people understand the extent of the autistic person’s needs.

Chris Bonnello

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There is no such thing as severe autism. There are autistic people.

Autistic people all have needs to be met. Just like everyone else.

These aren’t special needs, or different needs, they are human needs.

Autistic people need food, shelter, connection with other people, and to feel safe and valued. Just like everyone else.

Autistic people will communicate their distress when their needs are not being met. Just like everyone else. […]

They are not ‘severely autistic’– they are autistic and severely misunderstood, severely stigmatised, severely stressed, severely anxious, severely exhausted […]

Michelle Sutton

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My ‘high functioning’ child is not yet potty trained and still has to use diapers.  We support her and teach her, but we never shame her publicly or otherwise for being Disabled and on a different developmental path than other children her age.

Wait, does that make her ‘low-functioning’?  I get confused because she is also reading ‘The Hobbit’, which might make her ‘high-functioning’.

Romana Tate

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(See previous quote for context)

Deviating from the gist of the quote; it is interesting to note how – generally speaking – using diapers and reading The Hobbit are associated with respectively ‘low-functioning’ and ‘high-functioning’ in the first place.

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Part of the problem of the “labels are for jars” argument is that it inextricably links the label with diagnosis and pathology. It completely ignores the possibility that the label can be part of a disabled identity [when it is not] entirely defined by medical terms.

Kim Sauder

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A diagnosis is meant to give a reason. We can say, look, you have cancer. That is why you are feeling so unwell. You have depression. That is why you are so sad. You have this, so you are that. We expect a direct correlation, a cause, a salve to soothe us against all the things in the world that don’t make sense. The things that hurt us. A diagnosis tells us if A, then B. In this way, we define and we mend and we neatly slot the world into order. A diagnosis of disability tells the world where to fit a person, what they can and cannot do, how they will be loved and love in return. It designates relationships and builds hierarchies. From the moment my sister was diagnosed, people expected it would define us, too. Her and me. When they spoke they left so much room for the wrong words, such as caretaker and burden and problem, but too little for the right ones, such as sister and friend.

Out of context, Lauren McKeon

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Being assigned the label also became an experience of crossing over the threshold of ‘normal’ to ‘abnormal.’ […] They also continually compared their inner experiences and behaviors against an imagined standard of ‘normal.’

Out of context, Susan G. Goldberg

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Categories
Spectrum

Spectrums in Life

Extra section related to:

Life experiences, individual personality,
and choices and changes throughout life:

(A myriad of little and big things play complex roles in
an individual’s experiences and influence their life)

‘Autism’ is just one thing among many others.

1
  • Specific configuration of neurological differences (cognition, communication, sensory perception, movement, interaction)
  • The fact that the variation of abilities and inabilities is inconsistent

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2
  • In which areas you choose to fuel your energy, maybe at the expense of other areas
  • How you (choose to) perform in each context

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3
  • How others think of, view, judge and treat you; how they react to, respond to and what they believe about your actions
  • Social dynamics; discrepancy between reality and others’ misperceptions

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4
  • How you change in response of others: your approach, response and reaction to situations
  • If and how you choose to show/hide your skills, your (internal) struggles, and your needs – which may differ from other people
  • How easy/hard it is for you to get/lose support; which types of support you get/need

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5
  • Whether or not you know and/or disclose you are autistic; when you knew it (if you know it), and your life history before this; how you conceive the label of ‘autistic’
  • Whether or not you have, choose to have, or seek a diagnosis

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6
  • Demographic characteristics, identities, experiences:
    • gender (gender roles, trans/non binary, etc.), race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, parenthood, cultural surroundings, socioeconomic status, physical disability, etc.
  • Stigma, discrimination, prejudice, underdiagnosis, expectations, portrayal, etc.
  • How different characteristics combine with being autistic

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Based on an article by Elizabeth Bartmess

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