Some of the things I’ve heard lately makes me question why I’m bothering to write these posts at all, because clearly no one’s paying attention.
As of yesterday I had this post written and ready to publish, but after reading an article this morning I felt I had to say something. I’m not one for emotional responses, but I’ve been on the verge of crying since.
Here’s the link:
It’s very poorly written, and it’s rife with poorly phrased language, but I’m willing to overlook that based on the story it tells. An autistic adult (as far as I can tell) was in an American Costco and entered a meltdown, seeming to attack an off-duty policeman. After falling unconscious the policeman came to and proceeded to shoot the man (Kenneth French), his dad and his mum.
Kenneth is dead.
His parents were, and possibly still are, in hospital in critical condition.
I’d like to say that this was a one-off situation as a result of a tragic misunderstanding, but I can’t. I’ve heard of multiple cases of autistics of all ages being discriminated against and even attacked. I’ve experienced it firsthand here in the UK, security guards follow me around shops, seemingly because I fit the description of a criminal. Just because I’m uncomfortable in public and pay attention to details doesn’t mean I’m going to steal from your store.
I don’t think I need to start the argument of the over-zealous gun usage of the US police, it’s a well traversed topic. I will say however that to me, this is a massive overeaction and could have been resolved without killing someone and hospitalising two others.
Yet again the world is showing their gross negligence in education systems. I can accept that maybe neurodiversity won’t ever be a school subject, but we can at least teach the professions that deal with us on a daily basis. I’ve always been worried about being stopped by the police, what if they misunderstand something I say or do? This just has me feeling even worse.
“Have you had a look at your hormone levels? They could cure your problems”… Seriously? I was a bit lost at that one, it’s hard to respond to things without blatantly calling people out on their stupidity. I opted for the tactful and very me approach to just not-so-smoothly bumble around the subject until falling silent. Go me! (This is why I always ask people to type their questions to me, then I can actually answer them).
When people say things like this to me, or I hear them being said to other people with mental health issues, it makes me question what people’s true motives are. It might sound helpful if you take it at face value, but what it actually does is undermine our entire experience.
Stop trying to be helpful, stop trying to offer advice. You aren’t living this, we are. The best thing you can do is ask us what we need.
I also read the beginning of a research paper that was looking into the link between breastfeeding as a child and how it coincides with the rates of autism. I’ve still not managed to read the full paper because I can’t remain objective, but you can take a look here:
I’ve read some pretty dumb things in my time (shoutout to former doctor, Andrew Wakefield. I definitely didn’t wake up the day after my MMR injection with the burning desire to categorise and label my entire house. Vaccines don’t cause Autism y’all.) however this is pretty up there. On what planet could the amount of breast milk I consumed as a baby ever have any effect on the way my brain interprets information?
I will say that I only have the initial tone of the paper, someone else read it for me and it does go on purely from a research perspective.
The only thing we need as autistic people is everyone else to realise that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with us, and our issues lie with how the general populace views us. To think that qualified scientists are seeking to find a cure for the very thing that makes us so logical, or attentive, or creative; is deeply worrying. In fact it highlights one of the issues of modern society: if something doesn’t fit in or we don’t understand it, then it must be shunned and destroyed.
It’s all good though, we’re a minority, so it doesn’t matter what people think of us.