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 3)

Typically developing babies are reducing their attention to faces and increasing their attention to objects, [and] their social development […] soars. Moreover, rather than distracting babies from social engagement, objects and the hands that manipulate them offer new ways to share attention with others.

Emily Morson

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It is a lot of work to look non-autistic, and yet, looking non-autistic is the ticket to sit at many tables. It is not right, and yet, I choose to expend a great deal of energy inhibiting my autistic ways for the sake of sitting at some of society’s tables. Employment is one such table. […]

Many argue that all people have to do this ‘sucking it up’ to some extent. After all, we cannot just act however we wish when we are in public. I agree.

However, autistics have to do this to such a greater extent that it prohibits many of us from being employed because we simply cannot ‘suck it up’ long enough each day to be gainfully employed.

Judy Endow

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It’s Stressful to be Someone You’re Not

Faking it ‘til you make it may work in the short-term, but trying to sustain it in the long-term is unbelievably stressful. We all have our preferred ways of doing things. And because those ways are normal for us, they require the least amount of energy. We can do them without burning out or disappearing from ourselves in the process.

Faking it is supposed to magically smooth away our feelings of self-doubt and low confidence, but in reality it puts extra stress on the body. People who continuously act a pretense, outside their natural personality preferences, at some point will start to feel anxious, exhausted, angry and plain-old frustrated. It’s a bit like pulling the plug in a bathtub; you won’t notice much difference in the water level at first, but eventually everything will just drain out.  

Jayne Thompson

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We are all, every day, engaged in mind-blindness against people we do not agree with or comprehend. We are all unempathic about some people and some groups, […] toward people who are not like us.

Karla McLaren

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How many ‘normal’ people have enough human feeling to befriend and understand non-normative people? How many ‘normal’ people are trapped in their own ‘normal’ worlds, without any consciousness of what it means to be non-normative? The accusations of lack of caring and lack of engagement adhere to the ones who are different. Those in the majority are simply acting ‘normally’ by doing all the things that, when non-normative people do them, are considered evidence of pathology.

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

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What’s it like to be neurotypical? […]

It’s being able to fidget without it being called some specialized term which sounds like a euphemism for fidgeting with one’s own unmentionables, have a passionate interest without it being called a ‘perseveration,’ participate in classes and activities without them being called ‘therapies,’ and appreciate the small beautiful things in life without being accused of being unable to see the big picture. […]

It’s living in your own little world just as much as any autistic does, without people making a big deal out of it.

reform_normal

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Some people get labeled because of their disability.

For example:

  • Sheila does not have a disability. Sheila has a bad day. She yells at her sister. People say, “Sheila was being mean today.”
  • Renee has a disability. Renee has a bad day. She yells at her sister. People say, “Renee is aggressive.”

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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Both satire and very serious

Managing Challenging Behaviors in Neurotypicals

Many neurotypical adults have behaviors that the rest of us find difficult to handle. These people are generally unaware of the stress their challenging behaviors cause for autistic friends and family members. Even the most patient autistic people whose loved ones have challenging behaviors may become frustrated and find their time and energy greatly taxed by the demands of dealing with these behaviors regularly. […]

Restless Hands

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How do we respond to discomfort? To fear?

Let’s look first to film and literary clichés for examples…

We grit our teeth and bear it. We ball our fists and dig our nails into our palms. We bite our tongues to keep from screaming. We pinch ourselves. […]

What do all these methods have in common? They all involve the distraction of pain as a coping mechanism. […]

There’s a reason pain is the universal distractor. Pain is the only form of stimulation that our nervous systems will not acclimate to.

Kirsten Lindsmith

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Sometimes, all of us have meltdowns. Not slight upsets, or moments of rage. Full blown, life sucks meltdowns. If you don’t carry an autism label and you don’t harm yourself or others while having them, they remain private moments of vented frustration one may or may not be ashamed of.

Kerima Çevik

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We must accept that it is a normal behavioural response to having our needs unacknowledged and unmet to lash out aggressively, to engage in attention seeking, and to do things others find annoying. Any of us would do that (and do) if put under enough pressure and if we feel unvalued and unheard.

Michelle Swan

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[…] The most dangerous assumption, meanwhile, is that they don’t understand. Their eyes are not windows to any sort of soul. They are people in form but not in substance. Their communications are disregarded as meaningless or rudimentary. Imagine if, all along, a person treated this way understood absolutely everything they were told, understood that people underestimated not only their cognitive abilities but their very humanity, understood that they were seen as less than, damaged, or not even there. Imagine the danger to a soul viewed as soulless.

Imagine how you would feel in that person’s place. Would you feel angry? Would you want to scream? Would you lash out sometimes? Can you imagine something like an inner struggle to express rage without hurting other people that might lead you to self-harm?

The desire to be seen is perhaps the strongest craving in a human being. […] I don’t mean seen literally with the eyes, or heard with the ears, but to be beheld by a fellow human by any means available. To know that you have managed to convey something of your unique self to another person both roots you to the world and frees you.

Erin Human

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Followed by the series:

Categories
Spectrum

Lines – Glass (Part 1)

Question:

Why do some neurotypicals stim? Do they realize they are stimming?

They do. I don’t think they know they do, but they do. […]

Watch people overcome with emotion, an emotion that they can’t process, and they will stim.

Watch the news after a disaster or some horrible accident and you will see people holding their heads and rocking back in forth in grief.

Watch game shows when someone wins a big prize and look at their hands. Fingers extended, flat palms and shaking very fast in excitement.

Once you key into it, it is hard to miss.

Ben Rodda

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Kids love repetitive stuff. I used to work as a teacher assistant with 1-4th grade. Trust me with younger kids, if they like a video, they’ll see it 200 times in a row without getting bored.

LadyNoir93

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I know many adults without disabilities that enjoy child-like things like cartoons or toys. People with Intellectual and developmental disabilities are treated differently for liking the same things. It’s funny when I meet with non disabled people and they geek out over my little plushy wookies I carry as comfort items. It shows me that adults can enjoy things that children enjoy without people assuming that they are mental children.

Ivanova Smith

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The sheer amount of people who look at me and view me as ‘unresponsive’ when I’m very responsive, is impressive. And the things they do when they view me as unresponsive, seem a lot more like unresponsiveness than anything I do to them.

It’s like they only see a tiny, tiny number of the possible human responses as ‘response’. When those responses are present, even if totally fake and out of context and plastered-on to someone who’s really not all that responsive to someone, they view it as ‘responsiveness’. When those responses are not present, even if every other possible signal of response is happening, they view that as ‘unresponsiveness’. And they call us oblivious?

Mel Baggs

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I definitely know that lots of non-ASD people are terrible at judging how people with ASD are feeling.

If you just noodle around the Internet for a minute, you will find quite a lot of ASD people describing how someone thought they were nervous or sad when they were calm, bored when they were having a panic attack, uninterested in things they were actually very interested in, and so on.

In fact, sometimes police officers will harass or physically hurt people with ASD because they misinterpreted the person’s behavior.

Amanda Forest Vivian

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Hacking emphasizes that the divide between autists and non-autists is ‘symmetric.’ He attributes this divide to the fact that autistic people cannot intuit non-autists’ feelings and intentions, and vice-versa. “We are fellow humans in that we grasp each other’s intentions, feelings, and wants,” he argues. Because autists and non-autists cannot immediately grasp each other’s interiority, they see each other as alien. They do not share the “bedrock” of a common humanity, nor do they “share a form of life,” Hacking claims, borrowing two turns of phrase from Wittgenstein.

Hacking does ultimately try to gesture toward inclusion, and I do think that is laudable. However, I disagree with many of the premises of his argument, and I wholeheartedly reject the idea that autists and non-autists must be fundamentally alien to each other.

Caroline Narby

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(Why repeat lyrics?)

Seven time seven is 49. The pearl is in the river. Mr. Turkey is two times good for you. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck? I believe Fielding Melish is a traitor to his country. Badadada. Badadada.

Along with many many other stock phrases, these are integral parts of my thought process. Sometimes I say them out loud around people I am comfortable with. Each one indicates a type of thought and keeps me anchored enough in language to figure out what it is I need to say.

I suspect that NTs do this somewhat with songs, though they don’t usually respect or recognize these other forms. […]

Bev

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when I am feeling very bad, usually I’ll latch onto some song extra hard.

Noelle Stevenson

Is she NT? I don’t know.  Should it matter? It’s up to you.

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[…] folks will often assume the speech is meaningless if they know the speaker is autistic and they recognize that it’s an echo/reference. (As opposed to neurotypicals apparently being clever when they make references?)

Alyssa Hillary

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Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.

Out of context, Theodore Dreiser

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Categories
Spectrum

Blossoming

Popular saying:

If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism

Stephen Shore

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Autism […] involves varying levels of disability, depending on both the situation in which an individual is placed, and the expectations that are set.

Kirsten Lindsmith

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Just as neurotypical people aren’t uniformly skilled at everything, autistic people have varying levels of competence in different areas of our lives.

Cynthia Kim

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[…] you can be excellent at one thing and barely coping at another. We simply can’t make such a sweeping generalisation of someone’s ability to function.

Bec Oakley

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[…] There’s a related problem where autistic people will hear something from another autistic person, and assume that they have to be similar to that other autistic person.

Mel Baggs

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If you look around the autistic community you’ll see artists and computer programmers and teachers and writers and engineers and activists and baristas and stage managers and linguists and mathematicians and speech therapists and managers and social workers and scientists and athletes and musicians and poets and sales people and business owners and vet techs and moms and dads and grandparents and students […]

Cynthia Kim

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Many people outside the autism community don’t understand the breadth of the autism spectrum, or the effect experience, age, and environment has on our development.

Ashia Ray

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There is a whole spectrum of, very often,

reasonable [and relevant and meaningful] responses [and motivations] to unusual experiences

Partial quote, Elizabeth Bartmess

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Writing Autistic Characters: Behaviorizing vs. Humanizing Approaches

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Autistic people are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, coworkers and employees, students and teachers, friends and relatives, neighbors and community members. […] Autistic people have different abilities, different needs, different interests, and different personalities.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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Autism doesn’t make us better than other people, and it doesn’t make us worse. We’re not subhuman, and we’re not superhuman. We’re just people.

Ruti Regan

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We’re autistic, we’re human, get used to it

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Think about it this way: is there a one-size-fits-all description that sums up what it means to be human? Of course not, but does that put anyone off trying to describe it? No; instead it inspires people to explore every aspect of the human condition, doing their best to unravel its mysteries in new and intriguing ways, in the hope of giving us a deeper understanding of who we are.

Helen Wallace-Iles

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Extras: