K, so. As
#TakeTheMaskOff draws to a close, I want to talk about certain masks for certain environments.
Ai-yi-yi, it’s been too long since I’ve posted!! Much has been going on, including moving to a new home (not entirely of my own volition), and preparing for a highly important social media campaign that kicks off today: #TakeTheMaskOff.
If you haven’t been following it, or flat-out have no idea what it is, it’s a campaign about autistic “masking,” or pretending to be someone you really aren’t for the sake of surviving in a hostile world, a world that would just as soon see you destroyed as stand by and watch you be driven mad by a hate-mongering society. A pawful of autism advocates gave us a sneak peek in this video; today the voices are no longer silent.
I didn’t even realize until now how long and thickly I’ve been masking since late kittenhood.
I know that for this entry I’m going to get unfollowed, blocked, subtweeted, and all those other lovely things tweeters do when they disagree with someone. Nevertheless, this is my point of view. After the past few months of tangling victoriously with gamer trolls and ableist parents (to say nothing of a nervous breakdown and suicidal ideation at the end of last month), I’d like to see you try and shut me up.
As you may have gathered from the title, this is in regard to a recently published article about Dr. Hans Asperger and the revelation that he allowed autistic children to be exterminated by the Nazis. (Please note: I’ve linked to five different articles in that sentence.) It goes without saying that, this month of all months, when we’re already fighting fang and claw against the bad rap we’re getting from Autism Speaks-for-itself and other ableist orgs, this is an awfully upsetting revelation for the autistic community. But can I do what a superhero does best, and offer up some hope for the future?
Here’s what I’ve noticed in reading more about this. Read more
A guest blog I did for Not An Autism Mom.
There is a difference — albeit one that a lot of people can’t see. So I posed the question on Twitter, noting a few times that I understand what causes a meltdown vs. a tantrum. Meltdowns happen when sensory overload, overstimulation, and mental stress have overwhelmed a person and they look like they’re seriously about to explode. Tantrums, on the other paw, happen when a person (particularly a person under the age of, say, six or seven) doesn’t get what they want, and they act out to try and coerce the withholding party to let them have their way.
But how do you differentiate one from the other? What do you look for? How do you, looking at a person who’s acting like they’re about to combust spontaneously, tell whether they’re having a genuine meltdown or just throwing a temper tantrum?
Let’s see what a dozen or so folks in the Twitterverse had to say.
So far it’s been a momentous weekend. Autism Speaks-for-itself, in speaking for itself, actually spoke against Katie Wright — the very same member of the royal family whose son’s existence catalyzed the creation of that crowd — for some of her anti-autistic sentiments. As of the very next day, the “Autism Epidemic” of which I last blogged may not be quite dead yet, but it’s mortally wounded by the expulsion of Steve Lebsock from the Colorado House of Representatives thanks to his repeated sexual-harassment offenses. And as a result of sharing the article, to my amazement I got a follow on Twitter from none other than Steve Silberman — celebrated author of “NeuroTribes”!!! =O You should have seen me bouncing and flailing and stimming over THAT one.
Nonetheless, not all the news has been as uplifting. There’s a new subspecies of neurotypical parent in town — the “autism martyr mom.” To wit: Whitney Ellenby and her book “Autism Uncensored”, her horrifying tale of scarring her son for life by forcing him to attend a puppet show, and then patting herself on the back because she Bravely Wiped Out his Fear of Indoor Environments.
I wonder what other parts of his psyche she wiped out while she was at it. Read more
Suicide is #1 early cause of death for Autistics.
Autism Speaks has failed Autistics in lifetime services, support and created an ugly culture for Autistics to grow up and live. We suffer greatly due to their work and practices.
For decades, all money raised went into genetic research — lifetime services and community support had been obliterated in order to find a “cure.”
This is a failure to Autistics by Autism Speaks.
This is for the random twat who butts into a conversation trying to tell autistic activists that we aren’t “really autistic.”
This is for the close-minded git who compares us to their autistic relative whom they claim has “severe autism” or “classic autism”, because they were sensorily overloaded and weren’t allowed any accommodations to alleviate their meltdowns.
This is a compilation of “eureka moments” from fellow autists who either were confirmed autistic, or figured it out for themselves.