Hello, it has been 7 months since I have been on these forums due struggling with low mood and that sort of thing. Sadly its as if I've logged out and logged back in again. The same frustrations and misunderstandings that people are experiencing.
Most being bullied in school for being different, feeling unable to express who you really are for fear of it not being accepted, some people rejecting its a real thing, some people believing it can be cured. Am I referring to autism today or homophobia decades ago? How many of your favourite comedy shows have a "weird" peripheral character who pops up only occasionally to be pointed and laughed at their complete lack of self awareness and social norms. How many of these characters are likely to be on the spectrum? Its as casual in our society as the word "gay" meaning "bad" was not so long ago.
I'm sure a lot of you will relate to the idea of saying things that are not popular opinions or at least having to fight hard not to say them. Unfortunately I think the process by which we move towards better understanding and equality is not the ideal world situation we would like it to be, rather that a cause has to become fashionable.
It is trendy to be seen to be pro certain causes and while those causes are no more or less worthy, it doesn't help those that haven't had their time in the sun yet. It seems that these causes are the ones that are pursued the most perhaps due to their fashionable current stock, or perhaps because they are seen as easier because they are already further ahead in the process. It seems that ignoring the fact that a cause has to become trendy only makes the task harder than if we accept that fear of being seen to not be in line with current opinion is a more powerful driving force in people's behaviour than genuine compassion and wanting society to be the best it can be. If you want proof of that just look at how much we would look down on Russia due to them being behind on attitudes towards sexuality. We act appalled, as though we would never dream of such lack of acceptance when we are still seeing the back end of that culture in our country. Does anyone dispute this? And how do we make autism fashionable?
I think we generally have little interest in being fashionable. But you're right, we need to be out-and-proud just as the LGBT community does.
I agree, I have no interest in being fashionable, but I do have an interest in awareness, understanding and equality. I was just musing the idea that it has to be fashionable in order to achieve full acceptance and understanding these days. I.e. people feeling it will get them Instagram likes by being seen to be interested in it is more powerful now for the mainstream than the power of human kindness. Its a very cynical view I admit but I believe its true and I believe ignoring it would make it an even more uphill battle. Its ironic that we may have to become on trend for people to listen to us and our right to be different.
I'm gay as well as AS and have lived through second wave feminism and backlash; gay rights and backlash, anti-racism and backlash. Disability seems to be getting a lot of notice now and this is a good thing, other socially marginalised groups did it by supporting each other to be visible and advocate for more rights and we need to find ways of developing the kinds of self-defined supportive community that we can cope with as AS people?
Yes that sounds like absolutely the right thing to do. Coming together with other AS people was the main reason I originally joined this forum. I haven't had much luck with that. When I tried to raise concerns at my work (supposedly one of the leading organisations for equality) I was basically told that gender equality was what they were focused on at the moment (which is fairly equal in that organisation) and I raised concerns multiple times and absolutely zero was done about any of it.
That's a bit of a cop out - bet they're telling women they're focused on disability Gays have places to hang out - which would be anathema for AS as they're generally noisy and flashing. Wonder what an AS cafe would look like?
Loads of people ignoring each other?
I agree that the portrayal of autism on television shows is mostly via a caricature rather than authentic character. This does remind me of how gay people were portrayed in the comedy dramas of my younger days. Autism activists often compare ABA to gay conversion therapy. It feels sometimes that we are being prepared for some sort of Uncle Tom role. Raising awareness is equated with television time and the trivialising impact of celebrity endorsement.
We are witnessing a macabre dance betwixt reality and rhetoric. The politicians assure us they take homelessness very seriously whilst the numbers rise; the new benefit system is proclaimed fairer as the food banks continue to proliferate; a burgeoning professional charity sector dispenses anonymous advice via web pages; the phone lines may be busy; you are autistic, goodbye.
To hell with that. First and foremost, I would like there to be a rigorous debate about the pathology. The debate is going on and - in my opinion - more credible theories are being proposed and discussed in universities and conference halls. Why are they not being introduced and discussed on the web site of the National Autistic Society? We are the experts. The dreadful statistics of suicide, depression, anxiety and alienation need to be addressed, not just collected and collated. Psychology and psychiatry hone their diagnostic techniques, and spend considerable amounts of time and money attempting to prove questionable suppositions. There may well be effective strategies we could employ to alleviate the corrosive effect of some of the symptoms, to at least improve quality of life. The present approach appears designed to perpetuate ignorance and maintain a prognosis bereft of hope. End of rant.
I’ve been to an autism friendly cafe in Australia, it was great. I’ll be opening one myself at some point but mine will be based on good coffee and super delicious raw whole food.
Yes I would agree. I won't even go in to the politics of what the government's official party line is on things as they are purely strings they pull on, attached to floating voters.
I came to this site for action and change and while I don't know what I expect that to look like, I don't think I see much sign of that here or elsewhere. I'm sure its happening somewhere, I just need to find it so I can hopefully be a part of it.
It might look less unusual than a normal café.