The *real* epidemic surrounding Asperger’s / autism 

I hold the belief that Asperger’s/autism is not the “epidemic”‘that it has been made out to be.

More people are being classified as Aspergian/autistic, but there are many other reasons for that, some of which I’ve touched on before, and others of which I’ll discuss in future posts.

But not today.

Today, my goal is to talk about the real epidemic involved in the Asperger’s/autism spectrum.  It’s not Asperger’s/autism itself, but rather, the reactions, response, bias, prejudice, stereotypes, misconceptions, and assumptions formed and perpetuated by non-autistic people.

I’ll pause here to clarify that not all non-autistic people do this, but that practically everyone who does this is non-autistic (or believes that they are, like I did a mere short time ago).

With all the hubbub surrounding autism these days, these responses, stereotypes, misconceptions, and so on could be argued to be a natural phenomenon.  The loudest, screechiest “information” resources out there aren’t doing us any favors.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s their “awareness” campaigns that perpetuate the most extreme “cases” in hopes of raising money for research, most of which also focuses on those same “cases”, which means that so many of us autistic/Aspergian people who don’t fit that description are actively driven further and further from the truth, and so is the general public.  These “awareness” campaigns actually prevent true Awareness by tinting the picture.

What has happened as a result of these “efforts” has actually become its own “epidemic” of sorts: one of ignorance.  Of myth.  Of misconception.

This has translated to denial and disbelief of the idea that “normal”-looking people could be on the autism spectrum…

…and the perception of the Asperger’s/autism spectrum as a pathology that, by its nature, “needs” treatment…

…and the perception of autistic people as children or inept individuals, no matter what their physical age…

…and the myths that we can’t feel emotion, make friends, work, play, talk, think of valid and useful ideas, or communicate…

…and the bias that stubbornly persists in scientific research and the lengths to which the authors of these studies will go to be sure to paint even our advantages in a negative light…

…and the impression that our views and perspectives aren’t valid enough to listen to, so “they” don’t bother to ask or even google us…

…and the overlook of the people who were very likely to have been on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, without whose inventions society would not have progressed like it has, and we would likely not enjoy half of the contemporary creature comforts that we currently take for granted…

…and the well-intended-but-misguided reaction/response of “I’m so sorry” by well-meaning people when we inform them of our own discovery/status or that of our children…

…or the dire predictions and bleak canvases painted by some older-school medical and mental health professionals…

…or the automatic diminution of competence I risk as a doctor when carefully taking the chance on disclosing my status as Asperger’s/autistic to a patient (I’ve been very lucky so far, but then, I’ve “only” “come out” to three of those people)…

…and the horrendous campaigns we fight against that keep popping up like a Whack-a-Mole game on the midway at the summer county/city fair…

…or The Looks, shot at us or at our autistic children, during a meltdown at the store (and the bad-parenting assumptions that go with such Looks), by other patrons or staff…

…or the way in which we’re suddenly treated like children, even if we’re physically adults, after disclosing our status to someone who had assumed we were non-autistic…

…or those “experts” who assume we’re “abnormal” if we didn’t/don’t meet the arbitrary “milestones” “on time”…

…or those who cling to the idea that we’re mentally/emotionally disabled, incompetent, unfit, or unstable because of our status, even without having an ounce of tangible evidence to support or suggest that idea.

There seems to be a disturbance in the force.  A “blind spot” in the population concerning All Things and Matters Autistic.

There seems to be a Different And Less assumption about Asperger’s/autistic people.

There seems to be a fixative fear of vaccines (despite evidence of the lack of correlation), to the point in which large groups of parents won’t vaccinate their children out of fear that they will develop autism.

There seems to be a War On Autism, that sometimes spreads to War On Autistic People.

Why was my mobile phone programmed such that its auto-suggest feature assumes that my next word after “autism spectrum” will be “disorder” or “disorders”, despite ever only having typed the word “community” or a sentence-ending period?

Why must every show, “documentary” or movie paint us in an unfavorable light?

Why was Joel Stein of Time-freaking-Magazine given a pass despite reckless and harmful (not to mention ignorant) journalism?  Why was that author and that magazine not pressured by the public to issue a sincere apology?  Why were they not required to reprint the revised article (with the inaccurate and offensive phrase removed), so that people could see how the article really should have appeared?

Why are Asperger’s/autistic people ineligible for obtaining a pilot’s license?

Why are autistic parents in jeopardy of being deemed “unfit parents” and losing their children should there ever be a custody issue?

Why is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) still being recommended for autistic children?  Why are other horrendous therapies (like shock treatment) still even legal?

Why are companies able to get away with discriminating against autistic people by harassing them, targeting them, singling them out, defaming their character, and terminating them…only after they’ve filed a reasonable accommodations request?

These tactics are almost borderline acts of war.  Injury, coercion, shunning, harassment, and so on reflect the true existence of hostility toward autistic people.

And on what grounds do they base this hostility?  What is it about us that makes it OK to behave in this way toward us?  What did we ever do to the world?

We don’t deserve that.  We don’t have it coming.  We never did.

It’s not the autistic people who are the subject of an epidemic.  We may be the victims, but we’re not the “bug.”.

The “bug” is the apparent, silent War Against Autistic People, and it originates with (some of) the rest of the world.

🙂

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28 Comments

    1. Awwwww thank you so much for the share! You rule, dude 😘❤️💖. (Ok that last sentence sounded like Beavis & Butthead – just play it back in your head with Butthead’s voice lol). Hope that gives you a good belly laugh 😊. Hope it wasn’t in poor taste 😘💖. I figure if it makes you laugh, coming back out of the pain/stress/both is a little easier (?) 😘💜💞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m still in the poopies😟 it will get better.👍 I’ve been through way worse. And yes I did laugh, thank you very much.😍😘🌻 Inappropriate humor is my favorite kind.😝 South Park, Adult Swim… No cable means I don’t get to see it often. 😕 We also have no internet cuz we have no computers. And King Ben keeps stealing my phone for his YouTube surfing.😤 Ah, the life of a servant to royalty😕😋💞😎

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Awesomesauce about the inappropriate humor! ❤️. I’m also a Family Guy fan, as well as a closet fan of bathroom humor (blame my father for that one lol), and so so sorry that you’re still in the poopies 😫😟. My specialty is chronic conditions, so if you ever need some advice or info, just know that you’re welcome to it anytime. On the house. Seriously. I’d be remiss if I didn’t extend the (non-expiring) open door 😘💖💓

          Big love, girlfriend! Sending you happy and sunny thoughts of strength and healing 😘🌺💓💐🌟

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you thank you😍😘💞💖🌹🌻💫🌸 My biggest problem is stress. It triggers the fibro, the psoriasis, the IBS. My pain doc is awesome (finally found a good one) and he knows my life situation. I just need sleep. Unfortunately Ben thinks 2am is an excellent time to be his wonderful self all over the house lately. Sigh… I will survive, I will survive, hey hey 😝💞😎

            Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m a picker, I’m a grinner, I’m a lover, I’m a sinner….. 😝😂 Just lately I’ve been in charge of changing cardboard boxes into “clock towers”. He’s obsessed with clocks & Big Ben specifically lately. Watching “V for Vendetta” on repeat may have something to do with that😏 But, yeah, I’m everybody’s joker & sometimes Harley Quinn 😜 I wear many hats on my big empty head😂🌸💞🌹😘

            Liked by 1 person

  1. It is really upsetting to me how many highly educated parents there are out there that are completely ignorant about the safety of vaccinations. They don’t even care that doctors tell them their wrong about the perceived “risks”.

    I have a nephew in Europe who can’t get vaccinations for a good reason. He has severe heart problems and has since he was an infant. Luckily in his country vaccinations aren’t a “choice”, unless you have a serious medical reason not to have them (like he does). I worry that people like him in the U.S. are put in jeopardy because of kids whose parents reject vaccinations for nonsense misguided reasons.

    I was so happy today! My youngest nephew (who has Asperger’s) called me today just to say hello. He said he wanted to see me sometime soon. He’s the sweetest young man. I’m happy that I’ve been a good enough aunt to him that he feels that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally agree 👍🏼👏🏼😊. I know that vaccines have their risks, and some of those longer-term risks are just now being uncovered. BUT, that being said, I think it’s unwise to write them off entirely (going without vaccination altogether), especially without doing research into the pros and cons. Especially if trying to avoid what they call post-vaccine “autism”. A vaccine reaction isn’t autism, even though some of the symptoms might resemble (loosely) the more serious of some of the traits. But omg yeah, I could go on a diatribe about that lol. Vaccines themselves are largely safe, and the immune system reactions that get labeled as “autism” are not very common, and can be prevented in other ways. Vaccines themselves are very safe unless someone’s health is compromised in other ways 👍🏼🌟

      The diseases against which these vaccines protect us, however, were NOT rare (until vaccines made them so!), and they were quite deadly, and there’s a reason the developers saw fit to develop a vaccine. I would at least protect my child against those by getting them shots against them. It’s almost negligence NOT to 💖

      I’m so so happy you get to hang with your nephew, luv!! He sounds totally amazing 😘❤️🌷

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, once again, for speaking out against functioning labels, particularly functioning age labels (stating a person “functions at the level of”, or “has the mental capacity of/mental age of” an age far younger than their chronological age). These labels put false limits and false understanding of the individual. We all do things in our own time. That does not make us “function” younger than our age. Each autistic person is their own individual, and can not be age compared to the neurotypical population.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amen! I love and wholeheartedly agree with this philosophy 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😊💞🌟

      For the record (toward all visitors), when y’all see me say that I feel young or that I act young for my age or even “childlike”, that’s not the same as “immature” or “childish”, nor is it meant as a derogatory comment about–or any sign of internalized ableism–toward myself or anyone else. It’s just my perspective, but not in any way meant as a functioning age label; if anything, it’s more of a positive thing! 😘❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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