My husband plays online games where they talk to each other during the games and he said some of these young guys constantly yell out "Autism is a choice!" and use the word autistic kind of like how people used to use the word retard. It infuriates us. My older teenager said there are a lot of people, mostly teens doing this now because they think it is funny. They create memes about it and I have seen some comments made online that… read more
I don't think people complaining about how bad autism is or can be and how hard life is with it is the biggest problem. The fact is life is tough enough in general sometimes but when you add autism to the mix it is far worse.
The autism community doesn't help any here either because people are always fighting and arguing in the community about diets, biomed and ABA. You perpetuate the hate so to speak when you do this.
The media showing the extreme sides of autism isn't helping either. You either here the story about bad things supposed autistic people did, or the happy story about the autistic person with the amazing talent. The public really needs to know the day in the life things that we deal with. Even that good story about the gifted child doesn't tell you that the rest of that persons life might not be so happy.
The aspect of the spectrum is just not given the attention it needs. I have a child on both sides of the spectrum and they both have challenges that are far different from each other.
Just people in general need to be accountable for their actions and need to have compassion for others. People need to take the time in life to think about others and be understanding of all. The world would be a better place if we could all not think of ourselves all the time.
I've seen plenty of anti-Autism/anti-Autistic sentiment on Facebook, but I am rarely, if ever, the only Autistic person speaking out against it. That's the advantage of the Autistic community's online presence - individual Autistics hardly ever have to address anti-Autism/anti-Autistic content without support from other Autistics.
I would like to point out that the blatantly insulting memes aren't actually the largest issue Autistic people face online. It's the subtle anti-Autism/anti-Autistic content that really creates problems. Posts about how horrible Autism is, how much people hate it, and how hard it is to have an Autistic family member all encourage internalized ableism, which causes many Autistics to view themselves as inferior and believe they shouldn't exist. It's much harder to address posts like that, because the Autistics who have already internalized that stuff defend the negative messages and say that they're true, and the people making the posts rarely have negative intentions, so they don't listen to objections.
Anti-Autism/Anti-Autistic sentiment has always been a problem both online and offline. It gets worse after events like the Sandy Hook shooting (you wouldn't believe how many people were suggesting locking up and/or killing Autistics after that) where Autistic people are portrayed in an extremely negative light by the media, but it's always there even when Autism isn't being considered a hot topic. Autistics learn to deal with it over time, and many of us become almost numb to it. It sucks, but we cope.
No matter what I read on social media about autism there is always, ALWAYS at least one comment out of say seven that still say something like...”Now they call it autism, when I was a kid they would just call it a brat who needs a spanking.”
Then I think about responding.
“It’s a nuerological disorder. You clearly don’t understand what you are taking about. You don’t know how these kids suffer and how hard they try.”
And other things...then I realize people like them just refuse to get it.
Maybe they can’t.
Maybe they are just a little out of the box in some nuerological way and that’s what their parents did to them instead of trying to understand. And who knows what kind of lives they are leading and how unhappy they are.
I think too much but, the hate is out there.
It’s just that I wonder, underneath it all, how much of it is self hate.
As my former boss used to say "The fish stinks at the head." Meaning, the boss, or the principal, or the celebrity, or our government leaders set the tone for conversations and interactions. Somehow - whether in on-line or in-person relationships, many people now feel free to say the most vile things imaginable. My nephew hasn't yet endured bullying. His school has been fantastic about educating students, parents, teachers, everyone about bullying and has policies in place to deal with it when it occurs. He has an IEP and a one-on-one aide. Maybe it's different in other states and towns, but there is a federal mandate in place for IEPs and 504s, which should include an aide if needed. Push hard for your rights! And not just at the school - escalate to the superintendent of your district, the school board, and even your legislators! Call and keep calling. If nothing happens, reach out to a reporter at the local or state newspaper. I hope we never have to experience this and feel really angry that anybody does. I'm rooting for you!
The bullying is not about autism itself or the condition but on the person with autism. There's a stark difference between the two. It's not that the online community is spewing hatred all at once to everyone austistic, but the attack is very subtle like a 'smiley' face emoji on a comment that just called someone with autism a 'd---b--s' for not interpreting correctly a 'meme' posted on fb. The hurt didn't come from the stranger who said the offensive word, but from the simple emoji from someone whom the person with autism knows. A little sensitivity and understanding, specially from people whom they know, would certainly go a long way. Young people with autism can lash back and need the most support when the hurt happens. If we can convince them to 'remove' these offender 'friends' on their Fb, then that's the first step. Then document, document everything for later reference. Bullying NO WAY!