Monday, December 28, 2009

Please, cure my 10 fingers

A recent discussion on the Wrong Planet forums led to a person pointing out that an autistic's brain is miswired.

I'm sorry. Maybe I'm slow, but what is it, exactly, that makes an autistic's brain "miswired" and the neurotypical brain "correct"? Because we're different? In my last post, I explained that one of the reasons I have pride in autism is because I wasn't told for hours each day that I was inherently wrong. Another important factor in that, however, was my father (my mother as well, but my father was the one who imparted to me the wisdom I would need here). One of his favorite quotes was, "What is popular is not always right. What is right is not always popular." One could then make the argument that being neurotypical is "popular," but does that make it right?

Is there a "right" way to be?

I constantly see people missing the simplest of patterns. People who don't recognize that, when a bus is coming with a rounded front, it means that it has a new fare box that allows for quick swiping of a bus pass. When it's an old bus or a box bus, it has the old fare box where you have to put your pass in a different way. I see people getting on old buses prepared for new fare boxes and new buses prepared for old fare boxes. I could continue listing patterns that are so clear to me that other people miss, or the lengths people go to to be accepted, but my point is this: I cannot imagine life as a neurotypical. That would be a terrible punishment to me. I am sure that many neurotypicals feel the same way about being autistic.

If autistics are meant to be autistic, then why is there such a high instance of anxiety, stress, and depression amongst autistics? The answer is quite simple: We are told that we are wrong. Constantly. I escaped this by having a loving mother and a wise father, but many autistics don't. It's not just professionals and people we admire (such as teachers) constantly telling us that we are wrong, it's the way we're treated. Autism is not the same as retardation. When autistics are ostracized, we understand that it's because people don't like us, but we don't understand why. I escaped this by feeling sorry for them. As Katie explains, "Don't they know what they're missing?"

Some say that being neurotypical makes it easier to function in society. Well, wouldn't having 12 fingers make it even easier? A little work on the genetics and we're all set! Right? Ah, right. 10 fingers is "normal." 10 fingers is "right." 12 fingers makes a freak. That's what it's really about: Normalizing people. I take it Harrison Bergeron didn't "stick" with these people.

But reality, and especially what is right, is subjective. Actually, in Taoism, we are told that being the way we naturally are is what is good. Denying our nature is what makes a person evil. This could be understood as why autistics who work to "fit in" tend to be more stressed than those that do not: They are denying their nature. Naturally, one could argue that this couldn't be evil, but again I say: Who can say what is good or bad? None will ever know what would happen if they did not try and fit in. Even then, causing yourself stress, anxiety, and depression unnecessarily is quite obviously evil (doing damage to oneself unecessarily is as bad, or perhaps even worse, than doing damage to another).

Please, stop telling us that yours is the right way to be. We have enough trouble with people implying that.

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