The Me book and My Autistic Reading

What kind of therapy do we do to get over going through ABA?

That’s not a rhetorical question 😦

Felis Autisticus

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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What is Hate Speech?

George Lakoff

I have been asked what hate speech is. It is not exactly hard to detect.

Hate speech defames, belittles, or dehumanizes a class of people on the basis of certain inherent properties — typically race, ethnicity, gender, or religion.

Hate speech attributes to that class of people certain highly negative qualities taken to be inherent in members of the class. Typical examples are immorality, intellectual inferiority, criminality, lack of patriotism, laziness, untrustworthiness, greed, and attempts or threats to dominate their “natural superiors.”

The method of defamation typically includes:

  • Salient exemplars — that is, using highly rare and very ugly individual examples that have been sensationalized by the media and taking them as applying to the whole class. Examples: Trump’s racist attacks on Latinos and Muslims, attempting to stereotype all of them and smear entire classes of people on the basis of a handful of individual cases.
  • Extolling the false virtues…

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Stalkers aren’t love-lorn romantics

in response to an article glorifying stalking behaviors (note: link does not go to that article, as I don’t want to give it traffic, but to another article pointing out how problematic it is)

There is absolutely nothing romantic about undermining the personhood of your love interest. There is absolutely nothing romantic about dismissing your partner’s ability to answer you with No (or about your unwillingness to accept that No as No).

How is this hard?

No does not mean “not yet but keep manipulating and pressuring me both in public and in private without respite until I have to give in to you” + bonus “turn public opinion against me as a coldblooded harpy unless I give you what you want.”

His actions show that he thinks only his feelings and decisions are important in this relationship.

And the media/ Society is telling him that he’s right to believe this. That others should believe this, too.

The presentation focuses on how he feels and what he’s doing. “HE’S still in love- awwwwwww! That means she should accept that! Obviously!”

Do they even ask how she feels or give it a second thought?  No; they’ve already *dismissed* her feelings, and *even her ability to know what she feels* with “HE’S in love, therefore, THEY’RE in love. She just doesn’t know it yet.”

She’s decided to move on, but HE didn’t decide to, therefore her decision is somehow invalid and she will not be allowed to move on. HE’S decided to get back together, and she did not, but still they have to get back together, because his decision is the only important one.

Bullshit, people. This is not romantic. This is insulting, hurtful, belittling, and abusive crap. No wonder she left. No effin wonder.

He’s not in love. If he were in love, he’d respect her as a person. He’d respect her agency, her feelings, her safety. He doesn’t.

This isn’t love, this isn’t romance-  this is rape culture, and we need to stop this nonsense already. It’s the twentyfirst century!

What I Wish My Loved Ones Understood When I’m Suicidal

For Suicide Prevention Awareness month-

be safe out there.

Let's Queer Things Up!

My mother hit the nail on the head when she said that I didn’t come with an instruction manual.

If I did, I’d request that it include at least one chapter on suicide – because none of us, including me, were prepared for how to deal with suicidal thoughts and actions. As it turns out, mental illness would drive me to the end of my rope on more than one occasion.

The truth is that no one prepares you for that phone call, the one when your loved one is on the other end of the line saying, “I just can’t do this anymore.”

No one prepares you for that moment when they hang up abruptly, and you have to make a quick decision that might save their life.

I’ve been the person who both got the call and made the call – suicidee andsuicidal, if you will…

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throwback Thursday: hospital treatment and the cultural wall

I know, it’s already Friday some places.  Still, here is a tbt post re:  emergency room visit a few years ago.

Another reminder today that all the help (for me but also for mine) I supposedly just need to reach out for is not help at all. People are always telling me that if I asked for help more often that I’d, you know, get help. Instead, I invest time and energy I do not have, and end up with less time and energy than before, and no more help, support, resources, or knowledge than before. Plus I am that much more jaded, which I struggle against, because I need more struggling in my life. Also I get the darling experience of being personally dismissed, invalidated, or sometimes just misunderstood by yet another authority figure or expert, because I need more of that in my life too.

To be fair, 1 in 20 times that I ask for help I get help and not a traumatic experience. And individuals are a better bet than departments or facilities every time.

The hospital/ doctor/ expert_in_general experience is really about hitting a cultural wall. Here is my attempt to explain (this particular experience involves trying to get help for my nonspeaking daughter):

Me: She’s had periodic outbursts of weeping, writhing, and crying out in pain…

Them (multiple people at multiple places by this point, but now it’s the ER dr): She looks fine to me.

Me: Wait, what?

Read: “Your reality is inconvenient, inconsequential, and/or invalid; my reality is right. Your lived experience is hereby reinterpreted to fit into my reality, or discounted altogether.”

She is not in the middle of an episode therefore she has never had an episode? Or the episodes stopped for now and therefore are over forever? Or you can’t really believe the episodes happen from my testimony? Because as a woman, I’m overemotional and hysterical, and as a mother, I am even moreso when it comes to my children?

The message conveyed was of disbelief (or complete disinterest; it’s hard to be sure which). I still get taken aback by that because it is 100% inappropriate, period. Even though I run into it over and over again.

So I reiterate: This was a thing that happened in the real world. She seemed to be in great pain, and pain is not something that should be ignored.

Them: I’m not sure what you want me to do.

Well, hey there, we’re in a medical facility with access to all kinds of diagnostic tools and tests. Let’s try to get a better idea of why she would be in pain. Why not do the tests the other dr wanted done, now, instead of in a couple of weeks?

Them: Why? I don’t think so.
Maybe it’s just “behavior”.
Maybe it’s just her hormones.

(Now you’re dismissing her for being female, teen-aged, *and* disabled. Great. Glad to hear that.)

Them: That must be really frustrating for you, not to know.

Aaaaand you do not get the irony of pretty much refusing us any help at all in finding out, or at least ruling out, what might be going on.

And we are dismissed.

Read: “I’m not sure why you came in, but if you’ll excuse me, there are patients and problems that I actually choose to acknowledge.”

Some people know what I mean by this wall; we have a shared experience but don’t usually have terms to refer to it by. Others do not have any experience with it themselves and do not know what I’m talking about. What wall?, they say. So again my lived experience is questioned and/or discarded. And I explain again.

Or try to.

Mental Age

Sharing this article from Nos Magazine on Mental Age Theory

Several important things to note here.  (See also: functioning labels)

1. Childism

Ableism & childism are inherently connected in “mental age” theory and society’s generalized beliefs about “mental age”. To be called childish, to be compared to a child, to be reduced to a child, to be treated as a child for one’s entire life is insulting and abusive- because children are not seen as fully-functional human beings with full human rights.

Children in our society are vulnerable creatures at the wrong end of an enormous power differential. Children are not seen as having the right to make choices about what happens to their bodies or their lives, or to even argue about such things with adults, who are seen as having the right to physically and psychologically punish them.

2. Ableist slurs

Slurs like idiot, imbecile, and moron are used as insults by even the most politically correct- people who would shudder in horror and outrage at the use of r*/tard. Yet, like r*trd, these words were also once medical diagnoses used to deny a person’s humanity and consign them to a lifetime of incarcerated abuse and neglect. (This also applies to dumb, as in, unable to speak; the assumption being that you must not be able to think, either. There are more examples, see: lists on the internet.)

To use these terms flippantly not only trivializes and dismisses the great harm society does/ has done to people with developmental/ cognitive/ intellectual disabilities (and mental illness), but also perpetuates the belief that such people are subhuman and revolting.

3. Neurotypical assumptions

Some people do not respond in a neurotypical fashion or timeframe. Their atypical responses (or, for that matter, lack of response) don’t mean they aren’t taking in information, sorting it out, and applying it to their lives, in their own ways. These ways are valid and functional for them, but are often overlooked, ignored, dismissed, or pathologized instead of given due credit. This is a failing on the part of neurotypical evaluators, not the people being evaluated.