The Me book and My Autistic Reading

Last week, I read the ME book, Ivar Lovaas’s manual for parents on how to train a child through behavior modification. I even liveblogged my reactions to a set list of facebook friends. I’m going to compile those snippets here for everyone to see and read as they please, but I want to say something first.

I started out– and you’ll see this in my reactions, perhaps– with a flippant, how-bad-could-it-be, surely-I’ve-heard-worse attitude. Not to downplay the awful of the ME book, but surely I’ve seen some shit and it won’t affect me. Nothing affects me. I don’t emotions well.

But as you see in the increasing anger in my posts, it got to me. There’s something about reading a book designed to facilitate abuse, there’s something about this book, that just burns deep inside.

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The Theory of Autism: Full-on nonsense

In the beginning, there was the Autism.

Fast forward like A BILLION YEARS to like, I guess the 1940s, the Autism descended from the Neurodiversitree and BIT A GODDAMN CHILD. This was definitely the first time it tried to eat someone, almost definitely yes. WOW. Suddenly, an autism, but people do a heckin confusion because it’s a babbin who got the bite so “childhood schizophrenia????” WRONG IT WAS AUTISM BAMBOOZLEMENT.

Fast forward to the 70s and 80s and everyone was so hot and bothered by the disco fever that nobody noticed when Doc Loves-Ass came on to the scene. “Hello I am Love-Ass, do not kink shame me or I will END YOU.”

Autism looked at Loves-Asses and said “okay but do you love the butt CONSENSUAL?”

“NO,” LoverButt said, “FOR I HaTe ConNSenT”

Then Autism kink shamed Loveass. LoverAss got INCENSED and said “BANNED, BANNED, AUTISM IS BANNED,” because apparently he can do that. So he invented ABBA and said “You all have to be DANCING QUEENS now, except you FEMININE BOYS, you may NOT be queens, you are also BANNED?” And he somehow though that if you blast ABBA at little boys who like pink they’ll start being GOOD STRAIGHT BOYS.  Same for Autism.

In fact, Luvass wanted them all to be HIS KIND of dancing queens, so he insisted that the Autism only dance how HE wanted. “DO NOT MOVE YOUR HANDS LIKE THAT, INSTEAD GET DOWN WITH YOUR BAD SELF.” Also he beat them up.

Autism got ANGERY so it bit EVERYONE AT ONCE, except for the Neuropitiful I mean neurotypical, who suddenly noticed ALL OF THEIR BABIES WERE AUTISM. “It is a tsunami epidemic!!! tsunami” people cried. Various islands in Japan glare and shake their heads. White people. Gosh.

But the EPIDEMIC OF AUTISM was stronk. It started eating ALL THE BABIES.

2005. Suddenly a big heckin monster rises up from I guess the tsunami. Japan glares again but sighs. The monster says “I AM AUTISM SPEAKS, IT IS TIME TO LISTEN” Autism says “I NEVER SAID THAT BUT OKAY, ARE YOU MY FRIEND???”

“NO” Autism Speaks  says and autism cries.

“I want to make you BANNED”

“Loveass already TRIED that, are you his ghost?”

Lovasssssss: I don’t die until 2010

“Oh” says Autism.

For the next 10ish years and also the future:

“Autism speaks go away you don’t even DO anything but make me SAD” Autism says

Autism speaks: no

Autism: STOP

Autism speaks: no, but I’ll stop saying cure and instead try to find the autism in your genes

Autism: I DO NOT DO A CONSENT

Loverass Ghost (he dead now); I hHatE CoNsEnT

Sometime during ALL These times, a Grand Temple rose from the ocean. Why is there so much water in this story? The Grand Temple said, “come unto me my Autism children, I am your savior.”

Then she pushes off like 90% of Autism and says “NOT YOU, YOU ARE TOO LOW-KEY”

“We don’t like you Grand Temple” said like most of Autism.

“GO AWAY I LOVE HER” Said the AssBurgers and the AssPies. Why so much food??? We do not know. Hey! Hans Asperger was actually a pretty cool guy you need to know that for the quiz. There is no quiz jk.

“But you are hurting your other Autism!!!” Said the low-key autism

“I DO NOT CARE WE HAVE ASCENDED WITH THE GRAND TEMPLE, we are… ASSPIE SUPREMES?”

But aspie supremacy was probably a thing before anyone like Temple Grandin, even her cows.

“STAHP” cried out Steeb Silverboy, “I AM WHITE NEUROTYPICAL MAN, HERE TO DOCUMENT YOUR STRUGGLE!!!”

“Will there be black people? Like more than one or two. Actually people of color in general”

“THERE WILL BE HISTORICAL RETROACTIVE DIAGNOSIS”

“But what about–”

“RETROACTIVE DIAGNOSISSSSSSS”

Then everyone forever read the book. It was alright.

And that’s about it. There was also a muppet that nobody can remember for more than 6 months at a time and that’s it. That’s IT.

How dare you

(this post is a response to what I’ve been reading in Ivar Lovaas’s ME book, my currently private liveblog responses to which will be cataloged here tomorrow)

How dare you ask for love
When you have none to give
Unless Children can first perform for it
“Touch Nose” “Good!”

How dare you demand play
Under your rules
And deem their pleasure
A bizarre distraction

How dare you command a smile
But condemn a genuine laugh
Insist they find joy in their torment
While restricting how they show it

How dare you emphasize your needs
While capitalizing on theirs
You insist you need time off
They must always be on

How dare you say they manipulate you
You say their tantrums are communication
But not valid examples
And then you isolate, abuse, neglect until they show affection

How dare you use their bodies
Keep them hungry so food is a reward
Water, too.
Except when you need desperation.

How dare you talk about abuse
Like it’s therapeutic
And egregious examples
Like wastes of time at best

How dare you tire after your week
Of forty hours
And demand that a smaller human
Provide you with sixty

How dare you instill an idea into a society
That an entire cohort of people
Deserves all of this
And be called a hero

How dare you hurt these children
How dare you hurt these people
How dare you hurt my friends
How dare you hurt my people

How dare you take a person
Not someone who may become like a person
A person
And break them

How dare you take a heart
Ready to love
Only wanting yours
And break it.

 

Standing Side by Side with Giants

I recently dipped my toe into a project. A project to write a book on the history and culture of Autistic people. As soon as I tentatively, quietly announced this project, my fellow Autistics jumped to ask if they could help. People with blogs that have followers, people with advanced degrees, people who have written on Autism and in general in a professional sense. People who, in short, would know what the hell they were doing writing the history of Autistic culture. Me? I’ve known I was Autistic for 4, 5 years. I’ve done my best to learn as thoroughly as I can,  but I’m small.

Standing next to giants.

Maybe they don’t know they’re giants, and maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re a bit smaller– half-giants, orcs, some of them high elves–  but to me, the little one looking up, they’re skyscrapers. And right now I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

None of them told me not to do this project. That I wasn’t qualified. They offered help, and I’ll take heaps of it, but nobody even suggested it wasn’t my place.

And there’s that phrase, standing on the shoulders of giants, that implies the giants came before you and paved your way. But in the Autistic community, it seems that the giants kneel down and hand you your bricks and mortar, and right next to you lay down the roads in tandem.

Maybe that’s part of Autistic culture. I’ve heard it referenced before, anyways. That social hierarchies are passé and working together, younger and elder, is how things should work.

Maybe that’s why I want to write this book.

Maybe that’s why I like it here.

A – Z of Autism: F is for Fighting Fire

There are a lot of messages in our culture about anger.

Basically none of them are good.

“Don’t fight fire with fire,” “hate breeds hate,” and the more recent, “love trumps hate.”

Sure, we get the messages on righteous anger, on passion. But more than anything we’re told that anger is useless at best, invalidating to our cause at worst. In the name of not dancing around my point, I’ll just state my guess as to why this is now.

Anger works, and the people in charge (of whatever power structure we’re fighting) know that. They know that anger, that passion, is what makes change happen, and they don’t want that. So they demonize it.

Or, perhaps, it’s just that anger makes people confront the demons that live within them, and we don’t like that. If someone’s angry at us, either we or they have done something wrong. It’s much easier to say that anger is the demon than to point at anything within ourselves.

The thing is, though? Anger works. Anger works so well. Active, angry passion is what shakes people out of their complacency long enough to learn. It’s what wakes people up to the fact that their actions are not okay. It’s what makes them not make the same mistake in the future.

Passive love and subtlety do almost nothing, save for win over people who are close to our side anyways. But when someone wants you dead, no amount of love will make them change. You could love them with all of your heart and more, and the only one who will change is you. You’ll learn. You’ll learn to be bitter, to be jaded, and that nothing you ever do will work. You’ll learn that you can’t change the world.

That isn’t true, though. It just takes anger. And sure, you can’t yell at someone enough that they’ll start thinking you’re a person. But you can yell at them long enough that they’ll know they can’t get away with verbalizing such beliefs.

And for those in the middle ground? Those who aren’t vested in their belief you’re not human, who just kinda… grew up that way? You might be able to  reach them with love, but they may just take your kindness as an indication that your concerns aren’t serious, or your passivity as a message that you’ll continue to tolerate them regardless. After all, if this was serious, wouldn’t you be mad? And yes. If you get angry, they may go ahead and say that you invalidated your own concerns with your emotions– but they will never be able to say you weren’t passionate.

And passionate we must be– should be. Because they do want us dead. They would prefer we had cancer (and to illustrate how insidious this is, I wasn’t even looking for creepy, murdery parents’ books when I found that one). Indeed, many parents of Autistic people make us dead, because it’s much better to be a murderer than have a living child that couldn’t live up to your exceedingly high expectations. Especially with how often a murderer parent faces little more than a slap on the wrist for their crime. Sometimes they want us cured, or never born. We can go back in time to the olden ages of the early 2000s, when the Hear Their Silence rally spread hatred for those of us already living and extended a threat to those yet to be born, with a phone number of 1-877-No-Autism and  message of unity around, I don’t know, our graves? You can see some emails around it here and here.

Do note where the anger really stems from, though. Either you call things out so kindly that nobody hears your voice, or you get angry enough that they start shouting back.

And again, the middle ground. The middle ground can be the hardest to reach with kindness, because you’ll approach them kindly, and then they’ll set up a Meeting to Discuss things after the damage is done Kindly, and you’ll discuss with them Kindly and they’ll discuss back Kindly and you’ll have another Kind Meeting but the thing is, at this point the damage was done about a month ago and there’s a good chance you’ve still made no progress at these meetings where you’re allowed no passion, no bite.

But the minute you’re shaking in front of an authority figure, your voice cracking, your eyes blazing in fury, and you tell them outright that what they’re doing is wrong, you get results.

So I’ll continue to be angry. I’ll continue getting results. And I’ll have friends, new activists usually, who will wonder why I’m so angry. Who will insist on trying things their way, the nice way, who want to be friends with everyone so that we can all get along.

I’ll let them, too. Because I had to learn, once, that kindness is moot when someone wants you gone.

I’ve been kicked off of a blog network for calling people out nicelybecause those people were my bosses. I learned they’ll find a way to demonize you if they don’t want to hear your message, that they’ll remove you from sight regardless so you might as well take some blood with you.

I’ve learned that asking for written-down-rights to be respected in a psychiatric hospital leads to threats of solitary confinement. I’ve learned that backing down in fear leads to token gestures of goodwill while they still deny you basic personhood. What if I had been a brave child? Taken solitary, screamed and flailed against the walls in anger? I probably would’ve gone on to sue the hospital like I intended. But, the thing about those proper venues of anger– legal suits and such– is that they take energy that a mentally ill 14 year old doesn’t have.

I’ve learned that friends will leave you and groups will ostracize you when you ask them to be nicer about mental illness. I’ve learned that anger can’t change that, actually, but a burning vitriol will shine a light on who your real friends will always be. While, you know, the fake ones kick you in the gut.

So I’ve learned this anger. But the thing is? I shouldn’t have had to. My elder Autistics already learned these lessons on anger and effectiveness. If I had only met them sooner, I could have learned to harness my anger, grow my anger.

Maybe that’s what I’m doing now. I’m no elder, but I’ve been doing this for a while longer than many of the Autistics I know in person. Maybe I just want to write this out so they know why I’m angry, and know that they should be too.

And yes, you have to know how to use your anger. There’s a time and place for everything and nuance to every skill. But you can never learn to wield a weapon that you won’t pick up.

 

A – Z of Autism: E is for Endless

This goes out to all of the Autistics who spend more time fighting for their right to love puzzle piece rhetoric and the idea that they’re “high functioning”, more than they fight Autism Speaks, pathology, and paaaaarents.

My energy is endless.
I can do it all.
My possibilities, boundless;
I will never fall.

Except that I will,
Except that I do.
All this hate’s gonna kill,
Both me and then you.

But me first, I say,
Because I have the fight,
You can fight another day,
I still have the might.

And so I will,
And so I do,
And I’ve had my fill,
So where are you.

Are you waiting over there,
To tell them not to cure me?
Or curled up in your comfy chair,
Hoping that they won’t see?

My fight is endless,
And I can persist.
I can keep on standing,
I can make myself resist.

But I need you too.
I need you to listen.
Put down the blue,
Leave the puzzle prison.

Your functioning’s not high,
Those words pull me down low.
Why superiority, why?
When you won’t even go.

You won’t go to town,
On the ones who want us gone.
You hardly show a frown,
When they use you as a pawn.

But my fight is endless.
Yes, the fight is indeed.
But my power’s not boundless.
I, too, have a need.

A need for community, 
Which has my back.
I have no immunity.
Together, we must attack.

But you won’t,
Because I will,
But you don’t.
Can’t take the pill.

That they hate you.
They want us all dead
And you won’t tone them down,
You can’t even touch red.

I’m so alone,
And it all so much hurts.
I should have known,
You won’t even spare words.

My fight is endless,
But I can’t keep trying.
I’m tearing myself apart,
I want my chance at crying.

My fight will have its end,
So take the baton.
My own wounds I’ll tend.
Now carry the red banner on.

A Message to Certain Autistics

A message to those of you who like puzzle pieces. Who identify with puzzle pieces. You are not a puzzle. You are a full person who is not missing pieces. You can say that you just find the puzzle cute; I can tell you that a history of dehumanization is not cute.

To those of you who think Autism Speaks is okay. That they are your friend. They are not your friend. They are trying to end you, they want to cure you, and they want to profit off of the suffering they inflict upon you. The last thing they want in the world is *you*

To those of you who use functioning labels. You want to differentiate yourself from the “other.” You want to make everyone know that you’re different from the bad Autistics, that you’re one of the higher level Autistics. Maybe you just want precision. Well, you’re being more imprecise with your labeling of people in binary high/low sense. And there is not a meaningful distinction between all “low” and all “high” Autistics, and many of us can be both at different times. We are all siblings on the Autistic spectrum, we don’t need to divide ourselves.

And a message to those of you who are okay with person-first language. Maybe it just looks better grammatically to you. Maybe you just lack a preference. But “Person with Autism” are not our words. They are the words of people who want to take the Autism out of the person, who can’t see a person if they see Autistic first. They are the words of accommodation offices and bureaucracies that want to appeal to parents. They are the words of parents. They are not the words of us, Autistic People.

So yeah. I’ve noticed these problems all over, primarily by new-to-the-culture autistics, and I think we need to sort them out. Playing with the tools of our enemy gives them legitimacy, and it’s not okay.