I think I’ve talked before about how the concept of neurodiversity is – as well as being heavily personal – not necessarily something that most people know actually exists as a defined word. What I mean is, some people do things or hold views that are quite obviously neurodiverse but might never have heard of the word or concept.
Googe Alerts sent me a fantastic blog post this morning which was about a story I’d missed due to personal illness. It seems a young autistic girl had gone to a restaurant with her family and were ejected because the girl had a meltdown and another family refused to pay for their meal until the family of the autistic girl were removed.
Renee, the blog owner, makes it clear how repugnant the attitude of both the restaurant (and this intolerant person who demanded the girls family were ejected) were:
Now I will admit that I don’t know much about autism but I do know enough to realize that those that have it deserve the same respect and dignity as anyone else.
I would _love_ it, if that was everyones starting point. How nice would it be to have that attitude as the prevailing one when it comes to autism (or disability in general)?
Thats Neurodiversity right there folks.
Renee, goes on to detail some very intolerant responses to the reported story. They’re nothing that most of us who are either autistic or parents of autistic people have not heard in one shape or other before:
I don’t care if a child is autistic or what, the child needs behaviour modification. In this case, the child should have been removed from the restaurant by a parent until the child calmed down.
Thats someone who doesn’t get it. Thats someone whos probable priority as far as disability goes is not to respect the persons essential difference but to try and ignore it and make sure it does’t inconvenience them.
Thats what Neurodiversity challenges.
I’ll leave the last word to Renee, along with my thanks:
When we refuse to see people who are living with a form of disability whether it be physical, or mental as worthy of sharing our space we are constructing them as less than. It is in this disharmony of worth and value that ‘othering’ occurs. Our ability to project difference onto others leads to dire consequences for those that are unable to fit into a model of what society has accepted as “normal.” Despite the fact that we are individuals and no true norm exists, socially what we expect is conformity to preconceived ideas of what validates personhood.