Skip to main content

Parents Pushing Therapies

On LinkedIn, in addition to scam therapies and nutcase "cures" for autism, parents keep asking for ways to "help" their children "become normal." Some of this is a desire for a better life for the child, but there is also a selfish desire to interact with the child in a comfortable way. People don't like atypical minds -- we're uncomfortable.

"Repairing" or "recovering" a child seems cruel to me. Let minds evolve at their own paces. And embrace differences, don't try to "fix" people who experience the world and process data in a different way.

There are days when I have no desire, no energy, to speak. The effort to organize and prepare speech is draining, a conscious effort to assemble thoughts in a way others will accept and respond to -- like having to translate from English to Chinese.

I have to mentally, often slowly, convert idioms and metaphors I hear into the visual "language" of my mind. Then, I have to take those mental images and translate back into English. In the process, things can and do get mangled. When writing, I can pause and revise each line, but speech is a different and more frustrating / exhausting task because of the immediacy.

Society demands I adapt if I want to engage in activities, even an attempt to change society. It would be nice if people could realize how much horrible, true physical pain speech can be. Sharp, horrible, cruel pain.

I still have nightmarish recollections of speech therapy. That was 35+ years ago of, "Look at me. Say three. This is three. Say three." I have nothing nice to say about the various "therapies" I endured. Nothing. I wish the therapists could endure something equal to the torture, so they'd comprehend what they are doing.

And the, "But look at what they helped you accomplish" line is a lousy, illogical response. Imagine painfully dying someone's skin and then telling that person, "Hey, we helped you overcome racism!" Gee, thanks.

Comments

  1. Have you ever written an article about your feelings on this? It would blow people's minds!

    I hope you do write something specifically for the autism community and share this.

    That would be seriously great!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sadly, I found the parents and educators aren't ready to consider my experiences might reflect that of their children or students.

    One told me, "I'm sure my son would be happier speaking."

    That certainty is hard to challenge. Parents want their children to offer feedback. They want to hear a child say "Mommy" and "Daddy" and offer hugs. They want something closer to "normal" -- and I don't (can't) promise that will happen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, it's true. And I understand it. But your personal experience is gold. I guess because my son is 13yo I'm ready to hear it.

    I have 2 other friends who have asperger's and I love getting their feedback and hearing their opinions. Of course, I do. They're living it.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …