tales by the unexpected

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I believe in curing autism by Adam Michael

Shared with permission of the author

I Believe in ‘Curing’ Autism – By Adam Michael

I believe in ‘curing’ autism:
I believe in curing it through acceptance of Neurodiversity.
I believe in curing it by recognizing that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ human brain.
I believe in curing it by stripping it of the stigma and the label ‘disorder.’
I believe in curing it by helping Neurotypicals and Autistics better understand each other and their needs.
I believe in curing it by teaching kids and adults both that it is okay to be different.
I believe in curing it by healing the damage caused to many by a health care system that oppresses and tries to change people away from being who they are.
I believe in curing it by helping society see our gifts and unique abilities.
Most of all, I believe in curing us of the conformity and disease narrative that harms all of our attempts to simply be valued as people in this crazy world.

But tell me you believe in curing us of our very natures?

That we are broken somehow because we work and think differently?
That we clearly don’t understand the ‘severity’ of our own situations?
That our concerns clearly aren’t valid, and that our anger is ‘typical Aspergers/Autistic behaviour?’
That we are clearly in need of being talked down to and cared for because we are incapable of this ourselves?
That you’d like to see pre-natal screening for the fabled ‘autism’ gene so that we could spare future generations the existence of people like us?
That you’d rather your child get smallpox, measles or any number of vaccine-preventable diseases rather than be born with autism?
That you’d rather rewire you child’s entire personality and way of being, and in so doing destroy and rebuild them, rather than live in a world where they have autism?

That is not okay.

If this is your concept of a cure? Then this is where our problems will begin.
For I am Aspie, I am proud, and on behalf of all my fellow spectrum dwellers, hear us ROAR!

Source: http://differentlywire.blogspot.be/2017/10/i-believe-in-curing-autism-slam-poem.html

 

Normal?

This is something my sixteen year old self would have loved to read, as it is something I have been thinking about since then. Also, this will explain the basis for my self confidence.

I would never want to be normal. Normal is average. Normal is not something I look up to. All the people you meet day to day are normal.  One of the people I aspire to are extraordinary, like Da Vinci.

Normal is boring and even your brain knows it. That’s why when asked, people will always rate themselves higher than they are, known as rhe dunning-kruger effect.

So, even the brain of normal people doesn’t want to be labeled as normal… why would you aspire ro be normal then? This is why functioning labels are offensive. They compare autistics to normal, while Some of us, can do things most neurotypicals can only dream of. Like for example, me and movies… I have a terrific memory for them and after I watched it once, I can follow the movie without looking, just by listening to the sound. I see the movie in my mind’s eye.

so, why would you want to be normal? Here’s an anecdote about me. While I was still in school and one day after class ended, I was talking to my religion-teacher and he said ” I don’t know what it is, but you are not normal. Something is weird about you. I don’t know what.” He thought he might have offended me, so he apologized… he must have been freaked out when I thanked him with this sentence: ” Thanks, this means I’m not normal like most of them” pointing backwards to school, meaning most of then pupils of the school.

I was the odd one out… always.

also, how can people know for 100 percent certainty why you do something? If you lie down in a busy train terminal… why can they judge you? Maybe you are dead tired, or there is something else… Maybe you are part of a religion that asks you to pray on busy train terminals? So… nobody can judge you with 100 percent certainty… so why do you still have low confidence?

also, I think neurotypicals don’t like autistics, because we are not normal. We are the odd-ones out. We emphasize their averageness and they don’t like that. not even their brain can then deny their averageness.

An analogy to explain autism

Autism is a tough one to explain to people whom have never heard of it, or have never had to deal with it. Very, very difficult.

What if you could use a children’s bookseries, not related to autism at all, to explain a lot of autism? I have done some thinking and send it to an autism expert, whom thought it was a great idea (he’s a fan of harry potter as well), so here goes:

What if Harry Potter could be used to explain autism?

Wait! Don’t try to cast a spell on me yet. Let me explain.

Most autistics are diagnosed late. Childrens diagnoses are only a fraction of us, whom are diagnosed later in life. I was diagnosed when I was 29, for example, some are even diagnosed now in their sixties or seventies (some even older, although rare).

A diagnose for us feels like Hagrid coming through the door and telling you, you are a wizard. Asking you if you ever made some weird things happen all by itself, without you being able to explain it. This could be autistic traits by a psychologist, and tell you: you have autism. Suddenly, all the puzzle-pieces start to click. Suddenly everything starts to fall in place. Harry even likens Hogwarts as coming home, the wizarding world is his home. This is how the autistic world feels for us, having to have lived so many years in the neurotypical world, the autistic world for us feels like home. Being able to be “normal” in a different world, where all of your traits are not seen as something weird, but seen as something completely normal.

You also get the reaction of the parents (both his dead parents and his uncle and aunt, and nephew). For most of us, it’s a reason to celebrate (as it is a part of our identity that finally falls into place), so cake is something that is in place. Some (like me) even celebrate our diagnose like a second birthday. The reactions of his wizard-birth-parents would’ve been one of joy. They have a child. They don’t mind if it’s autistic or not. it’s their child. It would’ve been a reason for joy, and as you can see, by the flashbacks in the books: Harry was greatly loved by his family. His aunt and uncle… completely different story.

His aunt and uncle are what we call autism-parents. These are the parents that claim the label autism for themselves, to make them martyrs. Look at how difficult we have it, with you in our living room. Despising harry most of his life, because of them knowing he’s a wizard (autistic). They tried to make him more “normal” by cutting his hair. Dudley, not knowing any better, bullied him together with his friends. You can see how Petunia feels about being a wizard when she recalls the story of her sister and her parents joy over it, that she is a wizard (autistic). Look in the movies how movie-petunia recalls it. You can feel the hate in her voice. Dursleys sister, the one with the dogs (forgot her name), you can see as a quack. Someone trying to cure autism. Giving up some crazy theories, without actually knowing anything about autism. You get now why Harry Potter gets so enraged.

We have covered the diagnose now.

My favorite character in the book is Snape, and by linking the character to autism, I felt a renewed connection to him.

Snape for me isthe quintessential Autie, and how he lost his friendship with Lily ( by blurting out something inappropriate, was gifted in options up to the extend that he was better than the writer of the book he was meant to study, but he still stayed loyal to Lily Potter in such a way that he lied and cheated to the world’s most powerfull wizard. His wand is the only one I possess in my own Harry Potter collection (and I am actually a proud Slytherin because of him).

Female examples? Sure. Lily Poter is one. Oh, you want more details. Look no further than Hermoine. Hermoine has no female friends and look at her determination to make the world a better place for the house-elves. How she read the entire curriculum of Hogwarts before even setting foot on its grounds and how she can recall the information with great ease.

What got me thinking about the wizarding world and the autistic world is Ron’s father. He has a fascination for muggles, but doesn’t understand them. He works in a department dedicated to them, still doesn’t know the basic functionality of a rubber duck. Look at how he goes through the metro in the movies, it even looks like a person shutting down, because of sensory stimulation.

Lucius malfoy, father of draco malfoy, is the best example to explain aspie supremacy. Some aspies (I came to despise the word because of these) think they are better than other autistics up to a point that they think they are a different species altogether. Some of them don’t even want anything to do with neurotypicals and cling so hard to the label of aspieness that they will use it in almost very sentence.
Professor lupin could be a great example of a mentor to an autistic, even an autistic psychologist or a psychologist without autism as he is one of the best teachers for Harry, teaching him about facinf his fear.
His Godfather and his father can be used to explain comorbid diagnoses as they were able to shapeshift into animals.
The werewolves in the book can be seen as sexual predators (sadly this also includes lupin) but he gets a potion by snape.
One more: what about the magical creatures? These are all the other diagnoses that fall under neurodiversity and newt scamander collecting and advocating for them, makes him the perfect example of a neurodiversity-self-advocate.

Mother receives hurtful letter about her autistic son

The mother of a child with autism says she feels hurt by neighbours who sent her an anonymous letter complaining about the noise her son makes outside.

Jessica Green, of Berkeley, Gloucestershire was told to take action otherwise the neighbours threatened to report her family to social services.

Henry, three, has nonverbal autism and uses high pitched noises to express himself when he is in the garden.

The letter describes Henry as ‘it’, and the “screechy, screaming child”.

The sender also questions whether Henry is “neglected”.

“People can no longer sit out in the garden to enjoy the weather because all we hear is your child shrieking from across the street,” the letter continued.

It added that residents were “sick to death” of hearing him screaming “continuously” and stated that unless action was taken “a group of us will be talking to tenant services at Stroud Council and making a noise complaint against you”.

Mrs Green said the letter was “really hurtful” and she was “absolutely astonished” at the writer’s “ignorance”.

She has posted a response to the “vicious and blinkered letter” on Facebook which she hoped would “raise awareness and promote understanding and acceptance of people that are different to ourselves”.

‘Form of bullying’

She said: “The ‘it’ you are referring to is my three-year-old son Henry who has autism and is nonverbal.

“He uses high pitch noises to express himself and how he is feeling; be this happy, excited or sad.”

Mrs Green said the letter “shows a selfish, narrow minded and uneducated view” and “every person has a right to a voice and to be heard, and for Henry he has his own unique way of doing this”.

She added: “I have taken the letter as it was intended, as a form of bullying and of a threatening nature”.

Stroud District Council said it was offering support to the family, and Mrs Green confirmed she had filed a complaint with Gloucestershire Police.”

source

This article became international news, and of course a lot of ignorant, malinformed people had to comment on them. Also, on pages by newspaper in my country. I read some of them and really had to recover a few days. I was first going to do full translations, but decided against it. It would cost me to much energy, and to much to recover from this. I made screenshots for later reference.

I must say, that reading these comments was really disheartening. I knew there was still a lot of work, even people that provide services in job counceling know nothing about autism, or almost nothing. There is a real need to teach people about something like autism.

I’m planning a lot of things. Things have got to change. I’m not an aggressive person. Things have got to change. Action must be taken and one thing this comment section has done, is it it made a bonfire of the small flame that was already there.

I know it’s been a while

I know it’s been a while since I’ve last written here. I had my 30th birthday, which I’m still not quite over. Not that it was so exciting, but I hate the fact that I’m not a 30-something, hope my 30’s will be better than my 20’s though.

What have I been up to? Well, mostly reading, and not trying to kill myself (as I’m suicidal again). Also, I’ve opened up a defective xbox 360 controller to see if I can fit a raspberry pi in there and make it a retro-gaming console. I don’t know yet, but I have some plans in my head, only need to see if everything fits and such, but more on this later.

I’m also planning to participate in Nanowrimo again, after taking a few year sabatical, I’m finally ready to tackle such a thing again and write my ass off. Only need to get myself a notebook and I’m set (and maybe a kitchen timer). Also, I plan to get my ritalin and some sleep medication next month, so this will be the first november that I will actually will be able to focus and maybe complete the 50k, as it only happened once, in a 24 hour writing frenzy of which actually nothing was usable (combine ADHD and lots and lots of cafeine and you catch my drift. I was able to stay awake and write the 50k, but my mind was racing a lot and the cafeine crash almost left me incapable of doing anything the week after.)

To read

On my kindle app, I have lots and lots of books that I still need to read and am focusing on in finishing. I don’t know if it’s my ADHD (although I suspect it is) I can’t read only one book, so currently in my reading pile I have 80 books, on different subjects: Productivity, feminism, anarchism, autism,… all kinds of subjects.

I have 32 books in my fiction pile, which says a lot in my fiction reading habits. I absolutely don’t like reading fiction and the fiction I do read is also a specific set of books. 90 percent of my fiction books are books turned into movies or are follow-ups of books that are turned into movies.

In 2017 alone I have read 21 books. Which isn’t much compared to other years, but still more than some years. I keep track of these in my kindle app as I set the books in specific folders when I’m done (in collections), this is also where I keep my focus pile and such, so I only read books out of my focus pile and put new books in from my to-read pile.

comic explaining the autism spectrum

Here’s the link to a great comic explaining the autism spectrum.

Please watch it and use it to explain it to somebody.

Understanding the spectrum – a comic strip explanation

philosophy: brain in a vat

One of the theories I find most interesting, is the brain in a vat, or the newer version of it: the simulation.

Ever since I watched the first matrix, the possibility of living in a simulation intrigued me and thanks to Elon Musk, this theory has been given some credibility. A lot of researchers believe in the theory that we live in a very sophisticated version of a computer simulation, not in our exact time period, but in a simulation build by people 10 000 years from now.

This theory of a simulation has been discussed by the ancient greeks, by Plato. He called it the allegory of the cave, or how would we know if we lived in something other than a simulacrum of reality.

Later descartes thought of it in the form of a demon that controlled your reality, which helped him create his most famous sentence: “Cogito Ergo Sum”: I think therefore I am.

There is also a version that sprang from this, called the brain in a vat theory, from which the computer simulation theory comes forth by Nick Bostrom.

There is an article I recently read, that tries to refute this theory. I must admit, this is a theory I have spent much time thinking and philosphising about, and I have found no argument that can refute the theory.

Their flawed logic is that they only focus on what we see, There are other senses as well, like taste, touch, smell,… So, if these computer programmers can copy your sense of sight to make things appear real for your senses (let’s think of our brains somewhere in a vat in a laboratory, hooked up to a computer), can’t they by stimulating our brain in other ways, give us a sense of touch, smell and taste as well? Would that be so difficult to simulate? And by (and I’m only speaking for the brain in a vat theory), would it be so difficult to feed our brain the necessary nutrients to keep us alive, outside of a body? Creating a complete computer simulation is even easier than this, so why is it completely nuts? What if a perfect simulation is possible? Would it be indistinguisable from reality?

This has been a philosphical debate for ages. What is reality? This goes back to one of the most difficult to answer questions in philosophy. What is materialism and what is phenomenology? I answered the answer on an exam a few years ago by looking at a bar of chocolate (I live in Belgium, this was by far the easiest example). A materialist would look at the ingredients and the chemicals in the chocolate bar, while a phenomenologist (try to say that 10 times very fast, I dare you!) would feel what his senses are telling him and deam that the most important. Both have their merit, for me, I would rather taste a piece of chocolate than completely dissect it to know what it is.

I thought of something while writing this article, spawned by one of the images in the article. There is on notion, most of the philosophers before, and now, have not added to their philosophical thinking. Hypnosis.

Hypnosis, inherently, helps the hypnotist create a simulated reality (only for the moment) in the spectators mind, and defines the boundaries of that reality, for example, he makes them forget their name. Other uses for hypnosis are used to make them not feel pain, so they can get blood drawn without tranquilizers. So, if it is possible by using just linguistic constructs, to make the brain do other things, than in a “normal” everyday world, why can’t a computer simulate this reality then?

 

But…

I love linguistics. I love the usage of words, especially to win debates or discussions, and I absolutely love to read the word but.

the word “but” has a very fun usage, whatever you say before but gets automatically deleted from the discussion because of what you say after but. Maybe you have read Some of those:

  • I am not a Trump supporter but…
  • you might be autistic but…
  • I respect your opinion but…
  • i’m not a racist but…

See what happens? Automatically you are more drawn to what comes after the but, because in your mind, what came before but doesn’t matter anymore, because the thing you need to focus on, is after the but. They can say the most racist thing in the world and still claim they aren’t racist because they said so before the but.

It’s very dangerous to discuss things with frequent users of but… but it’s so Damn fun.

On tolerance

 

“Tolerance is something entirely different than acceptance, Yes rather the opposite, a clever tool of oppression. Someone you take as equal, you embrace unconditionally, for now and forever. But by letting someone know you endure someone, you suggest in the same breath, that you think he’s a burden, a nagging pain or an u pleasant smell, where for this time, you want to step over. Under tolerance hides threat: the mood can flip with the expectation or it exceeds it.” Arthur Japin

I thought this was a very powerful quote and first saw it on a feminist page on Facebook, but thought that it would fit into the discussion about Autism as well.

Think about it for a second and Let me know what you think of it.

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