Becoming numb to negative rhetoric in autism research.

Content warning: Naturally I’m going to be writing about how the medical community regards us, so you know the drill. Prepare yourself.

So, I’m gathering articles and the like to supplement the experiences I’m writing about in my book, and I have to admit that it can get downright painful to read them. This is a Tweet I wrote earlier today.

So many instances of doctors saying that we are broken or somehow defective. I’ve run across so many instances of “theory of mind” and “lack of empathy” that it has made me numb. I feel that I have to become numb to what the medical community thinks of us in order to combat the outright hate and ignorance directed towards us Autistics.

There are some doctors who genuinely want to help us, though, and for that I am grateful. The optometrist who monitors my vision therapy, Dr. Marcia Moore, is genuinely caring about Autistics and is even more so since I have entered into vision therapy at the Vision Learning Center in Bellaire, Texas (a city which is kind of a suburb of Houston). The feedback I have provided her and the staff there has enhanced their understanding of the autism spectrum.

Nevertheless, the feelings that well up when I read autism research articles or their abstracts are intense (see my previous blog entry entitled – I shouldn’t cringe, but I do.). I can think nothing else but “Wrong, wrong, wrong,” with the occasional “somewhat correct” and somewhat more rarely “pretty accurate.”

Why do I endure the “spiritual Force Lightning?” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it over and over again: There are people out there who want to wipe autism off the face of the Earth. So many times in life, I’ve heard people tell me that there’s something wrong with me and have actively meddled in my life, trying to shape me in their (or society’s) image. At least my family was tolerant and accepting of my behavior as a child. I don’t know where I’d be today if my family had been hostile to me.

I have to numb myself to this ignorance (if not outright hate) in order to fight it.  I fight against those who regard us as animals or “incomplete humans.” One of the opening lines of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds comes to mind:

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

As I’ve said before, I know that not all doctors and scientists are intent on wiping out autism or “curing” us. I want to extend my thanks to those people. Thank you for listening to us. Thank you for championing us and helping build a world that accepts us. Stay with us and let everyone know that we are valuable and deserve respect.

Shout out to Dr. Sue Barry, author of Fixing My Gaze and an awesome ally.

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