There was an article published in the New York Times recently, reviewing another book about Autism written by someone who doesn’t have Autism. The author of the article went beyond reviewing the book to make it’s harmful message even more ignorant. It was pathetic. I’m not even going to link to it, or mention the book title. The world doesn’t need more ignorance being waved around like it’s truth. I’m quite disappointed that in 2016, they’re still using the same old tired methods of highlighting ignorance for profit. Yes, profit. Why else would someone who is not an expert on Autism publish a book about Autism, and not bother to perform their own diligent research? It’s a money grab.
It’s harmful because it’s spreading the same ignorance that in the past meant lifetime institutionalization of Autistic people. Lock us up, throw away the key, and don’t put forth any actual effort toward understanding. The thing about the article that raised my ire the most, was the implication that we so called high functioning Autistics are advocating without acknowledging the so called low functioning Autistics. First of all, classifying us as high or low functioning is ignorant bunk. It’s offensive. It’s incredibly lazy. It screams ignorance. We are people, not machinery. Secondly, Autism is not a psychological disorder. By throwing it into the DSM, it opens Autism up to the travesty of reality that is psychology. Psychology moves in many directions, but rarely forward.
Psychological research, assuming it still exists, is not done scientifically. The leading diagnostic tool is still the MMPI, (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). That, in and of itself, makes me feel embarrassed for the profession. It presumes everyone subjected to psychology is a middle aged Caucasian male from rural Minnesota, working in the agricultural industry. It fails the logic test from jump. It’s root is flawed. Instead of conducting actual research, they allegedly tweak the existing bunk, and continue to do more harm than good. The professionals are trained to use these antiquated tools to make decisions that can greatly effect a population that is voiceless. Voiceless because the stigma of mental illness is so great that credibility is stolen from its populace automatically.
With a foundation of bullshit, theories can’t stand up to reality. Enter psychiatry. While many are unaware of this, psychology and psychiatry are not the same. The important factor that distinguishes one from another is the fact that psychiatry treats mental illness with drugs. These drugs come with warnings about their potential side effects, and sometimes, even long term effects of their use. Psychotropic drugs have been the most effective tool in the mental health industry. There is actual science going on in psychiatry. While they also usually only test their drugs on Caucasians in small groups, physiology is far more consistent between human beings than is psyche. The odds of a drug working differently between humans of differing races is much lower. There are a lot of people living with mental illness. Living with the knowledge that they have an illness, and living with the assistance of psychotropic drugs, or coping mechanisms derived from numerous successes.
It’s better than it once was for the mentally ill. But it’s far from where it should be. The stigma and ignorance running rampant in psychology is the most obvious hurdle. But the efforts to overcome this stigma are mostly put forth by those with mental illness, not those working in the profession. This is inevitable when you consider the fact that so much of psychology is based on bunk. I don’t see psychology ever becoming an actual science. My reasoning is sad. Ignorance in the entire medical field is lucrative. And here we are, back at money grabbing. Real scientific research could lead to the elimination of some lucrative professions. Where is the motivation in recognizing that decades of therapy and analysis is for naught? Not from those profiting financially. So the mentally ill people are left with the burden of exorcising their treatment options, and finding their own way through trial and error.
I won’t even go into the problems of huge numbers of mentally ill in prisons. They closed down the asylums, and built more prisons. Money grab. One step forward and several steps back. Naturally, objecting to Autism Spectrum Disorders landing in the middle of this shit pile is legitimate. You don’t treat a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) with therapy. It’s also a neurological disorder that got tossed into the DSM. The most compassionate therapist cannot return a damaged brain to it’s original state. Nor can he or she cure Autism. But he or she can make a living pretending to do so. It’s unethical, but that never stands in the way of a money grab. These are capitalist problems. When everything is set up on the altar of money worship, ethics and research get tossed out, because they interfere with the acquisition of the almighty dollar. It leads to so called “normal” people writing books about things they don’t understand to make money. It leads to the continuance of the cycle of ignorance.
The only reason for an adult with Autism to advocate and educate is for the benefit of Autistic people now, and in the future. We aren’t grabbing for money. We have a real interest in pushing the medical field to move forward and relinquish its horrific past. Torture is still being used to treat Autistic people. By advocating, we educate others who have been grossly misinformed, much to our detriment. We don’t generally fall into the traps laid before us that try to separate us into neat little groups, and silence us. We question the status quo. We accept the responsibility of being the actual experts on Autism. We don’t accept the stereotypes that Autism only means a boy who is obsessed with trains. We are shouting from our rooftops that Autism effects people of color, and females, and exists in every group in society. We are screaming that their is no cure, so stop wasting time and resources searching for one. We don’t want a simple, pseudo-solution to a complex issue that we live with every day of our lives. We’re not broken. We aren’t asking to be “fixed”.
We are fighting for resources that include family support and effective treatment options that don’t include torture, or other harmful nonsense. We are fighting for all of us, regardless of where we fall on the spectrum. We all have needs that are going unmet because of ignorance, greed, and laziness. We know we deserve better, so we are fighting for it using our voices that come in many forms. We’ve been here all along, and we’ve put up with a lot of horrific treatment and outright murder in our history. We are not satisfied with the status quo, so we are going to change it. Gone are the days when we were locked up and silenced. We walk forward with determination, alongside the mentally ill, and the other misplaced neurological disorders. We’re all fighting for what is our right as human beings. We’ll settle for nothing less. And every time we see ignorance pop up in the media, we’re going to band together and point out it’s harmful attempt to sell more lies.