Two autistic people speak

19 Dec

I wrote recently about how positive a year it had been (or PosAutive if you prefer) and I’m pleased to say that its not over yet. Two autistic young adults added their voices to the autistic community. I want to write a little bit about both of them but before I do you should know that I am only going to name one of them. The other one’s identity I will not discuss. It’ll be clear why, I hope.

First, is best selling author Susan Senator’s son Nat who has just launched his own blog. I encourage you to go and leave a nice comment for Nat to encourage him in his fledgling blogging. Maybe one day he’ll be an author as respected as his mum.

The second person is more difficult to discuss. Instead I’ll relate the events in a hypothetical way. I don’t want to discuss this person by name as I don’t want any repercussions going their way.

Lets imagine that there was a Yahoo group that enjoyed talking about a certain book to do with the mercury/autism hypothesis. Lets assume that that group had a track record for less than pleasant behaviour towards autistic people.

In our hypothetical situation, the adult child of a person who was both a regular on this Yahoo group and also a high up member of a prominent group that believes that vaccines cause autism, started to post on this group. Nothing particularly remarkable until one read what it was that this adult child was posting to this group. It was (hypothetically speaking) a copy of Autism Hub blogger Joel Smith’s essay on living with autism describing it as ‘really good’ and Joel’s other essay (you want to take away my window) which starts:

I am autistic. I’ve always been autistic, and I always will be autistic. Autism is part of who I am, just as my sense of humor and my emotions are part of me. I like who I am, even my autistic part.

In this totally hypothetical example, several parents responded, shall we say, less than gracefully. One of the best of their members told this person:

…forget about posting junk here that wants to make autism out to be some beautiful thing, It isn’t.

Another person who might hypothetically blog for the Huffington Post under the ‘fearless voices’ group said:

Knock, F’ing Knock. Oh, sorry, I was looking for my daughters……Have you seen my beautiful girls. I will search for them until the DAY I DIE even if I have to bloody my arm as I put a fist through your window.

Hypothetically, it seems to me that these ‘fearless voices’ need a short, sharp lesson in manners and respect, but be that as it may, I like imagining this hypothetical situation where the adult child of a high up member of a vaccine/autism group is posting what they would only consider pro-ND material to this particular group.

I hope both these voices carry on speaking. Maybe they can even make the truly ignorant listen.

27 Responses to “Two autistic people speak”

  1. natalia December 19, 2006 at 14:52 #

    I’m so happy about Nat, too. I was wondering who he was, all this time (if that makes sense), so it will be cool to find out.

    About the other person… Do you think it’s possible, hypothetically, that a person in that situation would want to visit a forum like this?

    “Support for Children of Curebies:
    If you don’t want to be cured but your parents want (or wanted) to cure autism, get support here. This board is only for people on the autism spectrum.”
    http://autistics.org/forum/index.php?board=18.0

    No pressure, obviously. It just seemed a good timing becos those forums are newly reactivated and, I think, redesigned, just this past week.

  2. Kev December 19, 2006 at 15:16 #

    I guess if this person shows up, you’ll know ;o)

    I definitely wouldn’t want to hound them about it. I’m guessing if they know about Joel’s blog then they’ll find their way wherever they need to :o)

  3. Friend in California December 19, 2006 at 15:56 #

    I read the essay by Joel Smith and found it to be profound and touching. I look forward to the day I can give it to my son and ask him to explain to me how this relates to his feelings about autism. Regarding the hypothetical post on the hypothetical Yahoo group – absolutely abhorrent, and yet so typical of that point of view.

  4. hypothetica December 19, 2006 at 16:32 #

    If you want to print my post, print all of it. That’s all I ask, Kevin.
    Yours in peace.
    Knock, F’ing Knock. Oh, sorry, I was looking for my daughters. You
    sir, look like a lovely man. Have you seen my daughters? They are
    beautiful, but they can’t cross the street, can’t use a toilet
    proficiently, can’t tell me how much they love their cocoon, can’t
    spend a night with friends, they have no friends, can’t go to summer
    camp, there is no summer camp for them, can’t IM their friends, can’t
    tell me when they have broken limbs or menstrual cramps or hurt
    feelings. Knock F’ing Knock. Have you seen my beautiful girls. I
    will search for them until the DAY I DIE even if I have to bloody my
    arm as I put a fist through your window.

  5. Joseph December 19, 2006 at 17:50 #

    Those girls sound kind of like my son. He is potty trained for the most part, though. (Very few accidents in the last month or so). He doesn’t really talk, which Hypothetica didn’t mention. Still, I can see he’s a happy little boy. He often laughs, likes to run around and has a lot of fun bouncing off things. He’s actually affectionate to an extent too.

    I don’t believe my mission as a parent is to change him into someone else, but to allow him to continue to be happy as the person he is, and to help him develop, grow and be educated as an autistic person. Society needs to be changed, not him.

    I don’t know if my son will ever be able to form an opinion about curebie-ism, as the hypothetical child in the hypothetical mailing list has done. But if he does, it is highly unlikely he will embrace a philosophy that would teach him to hate himself. And I hope to be on his side if that ever materializes.

    To the hypothetical adult child: Keep up the good work. You are an example to future generations of autistic kids. I hope you didn’t get in too much trouble with your mom. One day she might come to accept you as who you are. If she doesn’t now it’s probably mostly because she has too much history invested in her worldview.

  6. clone3g December 19, 2006 at 18:00 #

    hypothetica,
    All of those things your daughters can’t (yet) do are classic symptoms of mercury poisoning, aren’t they? I mean if you read case reports and historical descriptions of populations exposed to mercury, it sounds exactly like your description, doesn’t it?

    I hear ya knockin’ – but you can’t come in

  7. Kev December 19, 2006 at 18:44 #

    I was actually hoping to spare your further blushes hypathetica.

  8. margaret December 19, 2006 at 18:49 #

    Kev,

    Why was my comment removed?

  9. Kev December 19, 2006 at 18:50 #

    I’ve just mailed you to explain.

  10. margaret December 19, 2006 at 19:25 #

    I’ll try this again

    Kev,

    As you already know from my first post that was deleted because you say you are attempting to protect the identity of an autistic individual. You apparently have no qualms about providing enough information about the one and only mother with autistic daughters that blogs under the Fearless Voices of the Huffington Blog, but that’s another matter.

    I was asking why you are being a hypocrite- critizing others for not accepting those who have a differing view of autism then themselves?

    Why do you spend so much time doing exactly that? Critcizing those who have different views than yours?

    I pointed out that “fearless voices”/Hypothetica not Hypathetic as you spelled it, apologized to “hyptothetical adult child” for responding to him in a harsh manner. After she learned he was an autistic individual, she attempted to explain the different obstacles and problems her daughters face, daily.

    I also stated “fearless voices” has 3 daughters with autism and they all are pretty seriously affected/impaired/delayed. Unlike you, “fearless voices” doesn’t think autism is wonderful. I think I said somethinkg like, if your daughter didn’t have any problems that were difficult to deal with then you were fortunate and I was happy for you.

    I didn’t realize you censor here, that may explain why most of the comments have a Cultish flair to them. At least on the Hypothetical yahoo group that talks about a particular book you can say whatever you want.

  11. Kev December 19, 2006 at 19:42 #

    _”You apparently have no qualms about providing enough information about the one and only mother with autistic daughters that blogs under the Fearless Voices of the Huffington Blog.”_

    That’s true, I don’t. That person is allegedly an adult and can fend for themselves.

    _”I was asking why you are being a hypocrite- critizing others for not accepting those who have a differing view of autism then themselves?”_

    What those two parents did to that person went well beyond ‘not accepting’. It was abusive and bullying.

    _”Why do you spend so much time doing exactly that? Critcizing those who have different views than yours?”_

    I think its important that _all_ the truth gets out there, not just edited highlights.

    _”I pointed out that “fearless voices”/Hypothetica not Hypathetic as you spelled it, apologized to “hyptothetical adult child” for responding to him in a harsh manner.”_

    She wrote this:

    _”Good morning, ******. I understand that you are an autistic adult/young
    adult. Now I see why you posted your messages. ****** – my girls are
    not as fortunate as you. I would trade the world for them to have your
    abilities. I do not despise you as an autistic person. And I do not
    despise my daughters. I want to help them, not take away any part of
    their personalities that makes them special.”_

    I fail to see the words ‘I’m sorry’ anywhere in that. Maybe this parent apologised privately. I think someone who attacks publicly should accept responsibility and apologise publicly.

    _”I think I said somethinkg like, if your daughter didn’t have any problems that were difficult to deal with then you were fortunate and I was happy for you.”_

    I’d say that was assumptive and incorrect. I’m not prepared to blame life’s hardships on vaccines though.

    _”I didn’t realize you censor here,”_

    I censor rudeness and things which go against my personal threshold. Yesterday I censored the language of an autistic man.

    _At least on the Hypothetical yahoo group that talks about a particular book you can say whatever you want.”_

    Hmm, I know of many threads that have been removed from that Group. I’d also ask you to compare the situation here, where anyone can read what I write and anyone (who stays within the rules) can comment, with that Group where everything is hidden from public view and you must join up to even read messages.

  12. Kev December 19, 2006 at 19:47 #

    Margaret, Hypothetical: Have a read. Enjoy. Maybe even contribute?

  13. hippothetical December 19, 2006 at 20:20 #

    The only reason the hypothetical young autistic adult got anything resembling an explanation for the awful responses s/he got, was that the hypothetical bullies, including the grossly ill mannered “Knock F’ing Knock” “lady”, found out the person posting the essays was the hypothetical child of a well known hypothetical anti-mercury crusader. It was like the bullies suddenly realized that the kid they had been punching in the face was the school principal’s child. Oops.

    If I remember correctly, the very rude hypothetical Huffpo blogger told the list that the adult child of the famous mercury mom leader “has no life.”

    This was right there where the hypothetical young person would read it.

    Talk about people who *have no life*. Some of those on that hypothetical group live to berate autistic adults who don’t agree with their tin-foil-hat-shielded view of the world. That same group ran an autistic adult out of the group with gross sexualized comments about her because she mentioned she had been molested in the past.

    Anyone questioning the orthodoxy of the group gets quickly accused of being a plant by the CDC or “Pharma.” It looks like a cult with lots of fear and loathing of autistic adults and anyone who doesn’t follow them exactly, but it is fun reading if you want to see how some sad little fish fight each other to become the big fish in a little pond. It’s also fun for reading the extreme paranoic views of some, like fears of having tracking devices implanted with a vaccine injection.

  14. Joseph December 19, 2006 at 20:27 #

    At least on the Hypothetical yahoo group that talks about a particular book you can say whatever you want.

    That is absolutely not true. In fact, I undertand about 4 posts by the audult child in question were removed from said list.

    I once tried to join that list and I was denied entry. (I do have other means to access that list now, obviously).

  15. Joel Smith December 20, 2006 at 00:29 #

    I hope my fellow autistic adult, the one mentioned as being on the list, finds a place that actually cares more about other people than about their cause. Ego can do some really strange things.

    Oh, and if he reads here: I’m glad you liked my essay. 🙂

  16. Ms Clark December 20, 2006 at 02:15 #

    Why do I think that no one would be allowed to publish a comment like, “Knock F’ing Knock. Have you seen my beautiful girls. I will search for them until the DAY I DIE even if I have to bloody my arm as I put a fist through your window.” in response to Ms Hypothetical Fearsome Voices on the Huffpo blog? They require that the comments have no personal attacks in them. I guess we could try to enlighten Ms. Hypothetical with some comments on the Huffpo blog using that aggressive/violent tone and see if they ever get past the censor over there. It would only be fair if they were allowed, don’t you think, Ms. Hypothetical?

  17. annonymous December 20, 2006 at 04:25 #

    I thought that the blog by Joel was very insightful as a parent of an autistic child and one with Aspergers Syndrome. I commend him for his efforts and thank him for enlightening me on his world. It gives me a much better perspective about how to treat my children as they grow up. The rest of you who were basically making fun or being idiots about the blog, should examine yourselves because if you want a more politically correct world…a world that “doesn’t discriminate” then perhaps you should think of yourselves as the disabled…since you’re essentially the problem.

  18. Anne December 20, 2006 at 04:53 #

    Oh, give the lady a break, she is trying to find a publisher for her book, “Autism is Murder.” Perhaps after reading her post of the entire piece that Kev excerpted, prospective publishers will be knock f’ing knocking on her door! (Or not.)

  19. margaret December 20, 2006 at 13:02 #

    Kev,

    I think you should take a look at this sentence in Hippothetical’s post:

    “It was like the bullies suddenly realized that the kid they had been punching in the face was the school principal’s ****. Oops.”

    They make reference to gender. In the interest of protecting “Hypothetical adult child” I think you might want to zap that line.

  20. Kev December 20, 2006 at 14:01 #

    Well spotted Margaret, thanks.

  21. Brett December 20, 2006 at 21:45 #

    Kev,

    In the last sentence, you reference the “truly ignorant.” I think a better term may be “intentionally ignorant.” Someone who is truly ignorant just doesn’t know, the intentionally ignorant know enough to not want to know any more. Just a thought.

  22. Kev December 21, 2006 at 12:37 #

    You’re right Brett. These really are a group of people who prefer to be ignorant.

  23. Detox February 14, 2007 at 13:52 #

    This is touching but purely hypothetical. I happen to work with autistic young men and NONE of them can communicate. Never. They have a world of their own, a large one, if I am allowed to say. They remain in that separate world even when we try the best. One another thing: only human males can be autistic. This bitter man’s daughters might have some problems but not autism.

  24. Kev February 14, 2007 at 15:39 #

    _”They remain in that separate world even when we try the best. One another thing: only human males can be autistic. This bitter man’s daughters might have some problems but not autism.”_

    I’m going to hazard a guess and say that anyone who thinks autism only affects males is possibly not such a great teacher.

  25. anonimouse February 14, 2007 at 16:51 #

    Detox,

    Did you really just say that only males can have autism?

    Do you even know what autism is?

  26. David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction) February 14, 2007 at 18:10 #

    Detox, you’re definitely in the wrong field, pal.

    “This is touching but purely hypothetical. I happen to work with autistic young men and NONE of them can communicate.”

    Bullshit. The only people who do not communicate are dead. They probably do try to communicate but are ignored.

    “Never.”

    Like I said… they are probably ignored.

    “They have a world of their own, a large one, if I am allowed to say.”

    Wrong. Autistic people share the same world with everybody else, but perceive it in vastly different ways.

    “They remain in that separate world even when we try the best.”

    Wrong. Your best may actually be an entirely inappropriate way to do anything, with respect to how those guys prefer to interact (or would demonstrate a preference to interact if actually consulted on the matter), and may even be hindering their efforts to get along.

    “One another thing: only human males can be autistic.”

    Complete and utter bollocks. Dunno who told you that but they were so far off base that it would be exaggerating in a positive direction to even call them wrong! You are definitely in the wrong field.

    “Professor Gillberg said that, at an earlier age girls with autism were likely to be more passive and not as active or aggressive as boys with autism are – and may be seen as simply shy.”

    And…

    “He said boys were likely to show interest in technical or maths-related hobbies, whereas girls were more interested in people.”

    And…

    “Professor Gillberg said girls may be perceived as simply shy, and parents and teachers may not realise there’s a problem. He added that differences in the way girls and boys learn to speak could also mask signs of autistic disorders.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4630705.stm

    “This bitter man’s daughters might have some problems but not autism.”

    Empty statement, since it relies on the previous one being true, and that one was so not true that it was something that no sentient being could possibly have thought up.

    You might want to get your facts straight before you think to come here again talking bollocks like that.

  27. Ruth February 15, 2007 at 01:25 #

    Detox-

    Have you read Kanner’s original paper on autism? Two of the 10 original case studies were girls. Autism does appear to be more common in males, but it does occur in females.

    My daughter can still accurately remember details from 5 years ago when she appeared zoned out and unaware of her environment. She was in fact absorbing more detail than most ‘normal’ people.

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