I have a lot of respect for Dr Manuel Casanova and this a very reveling blog about the subject of neurodiversity and what it means – it is my opinion that no one person can “represent” autism just because they themselves are on the autism spectrum.
I CAN ONLY SPEAK ABOUT MY REALITY WITH AUTISM
I make professional and moral judgement to say this is my profile and that is the ONLY place it is coming from (I can’t speak for others on the spectrum) – I say “I” and “me” not “us” and “we” in speeches (again I cannot speak for everyone on the spectrum that doesn’t make sense)
I don’t believe autism is a “culture” either (I am apart of the human race) and I think we need think about what is projected and who is losing out? Is it people who don’t tow the line, fit the “stereotypes” are not seen as good advocates because of their “functioning”. I wonder? I know we all have a story to tell? But is it right for someone to tell their story on everyone else’s behalf?
EMPOWERMENT & ACKNOWLEGE OF THE MULTIPLE REALITIES OF AUTISM
Autism is a “Fruit Salad” it is not one thing, it isn’t one syndrome and it effects people in different ways so what Manuel is advocating is that the more realities we acknowledge and listen to the more understanding we have – their should be no single representation because then voices get lost, realities can form into assumptions and they are both dangerous and can make people feel isolated and alone in their struggles.
AUTISM AS A “FRUIT SALAD” & BREAKING DOWN “STEREOTYPES “
As Donna Williams analogy points out “Autism” is not “one thing” it is a clustering of different pieces that create the person’s on unique profile and presentation that means that logically no one person is the same on the autism spectrum, therefore realities within autism are different and people on the spectrum are not all the same, nor do they have same needs, desires or aspirations. I will take that one step further and say if someone got up on stage and talked about “non-autistic syndrome” and made the assumption every one with this syndrome is the same we would be in big trouble.
THE WHOLE SPECTRUM & PERSONHOOD
I am for one agree and for empowerment, inclusion, diversity but that must be inclusive to the whole spectrum of “Fruit Salads” and the realities within them. and seeing someone’s personhood is very empowering.
PEOPLE WITH CLASSIC AUTISM AND &/OR LEARNING DISABILITIES & PEOPLE WHO ARE FUNCTIONALLY NON-VERBAL (WHO ARE EMPOWERED BY DIFFERENT FORMS OF EXPRESSING WORDS)
Looking at the whole spectrum means looking at different profiles and presentations and the firm empowering inclusion of people with classic autism and/or learning disabilities and people who are functionally non-verbal. Sometimes I worry that people with these diagnosis’ (who are considered to have an “exotic” or “atypical” presentation) and profiles don’t get recognition or heard. They are competent folk who need support too and their realities should be explored and recognised. They deserve to have voice.
Parent’s views are very important too and explorations of different ways to empower, support and help their children is also needed.
I stay neutral and balanced like I point towards being a moderate in my views on autism accepting the diverse, different realities and peoples story’s and what their own personal experiences are (be that a parent, guardian, person on the spectrum etc) all are valid.
I have said before that I’m not a a “curist” and I’m not an “ablist” but a “neutral” because I believe everyone has a story to tell without going to unhealthy extremes if we listened with our hearts we would learn about each others experiences.
OTHER BLOGS ON THIS SUBJECT
Paul Isaacs Adult With Autism 2015