Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yesthattoo.blogspot.com/post-specific-URL.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Alyssa Reads Uniquely Human: Part 7

I'm still reading Uniquely Human. I am getting very tired of running into the Exact. Same. Problems. every chapter. Can I just at this point write, "Assume every description and anecdote is written in a behaviorizing way, or at best partially behaviorizing," have y'all take it as a given criticism, and write that fewer times already? Please? And since I've linked that same Disability in Kidlit article for the last several parts, can we take it as background material y'all reading this post have also read?

Anyways, the preceding part of my review is here, and the series begins here.

I take the usual issue with the anecdotes.

The comparison of learning social rules and learning to read body language to learning a second language in adulthood is actually quite apt. I've heard quite a few autistic adults compare body language to a foreign language, and not a particularly logical foreign language. (I think by logical vs. not logical in a language, the metric is how many exceptions there are to the "rules" of the language? English, for example, is not that logical because the exceptions have exceptions and we rifled through the pockets of other languages for spare grammar.)

Another side of the "foreign" language bit is that, well, autistic body language and neurotypical body language are different, even within the same macro culture. Neurotypical people usually can't read my body language very well, and often can't read it at all, because they aren't used to interpreting autistic body language through learning what things mean and tend to simulate what would it mean if they were using that body language. It doesn't work well, because they are very different from me. Autistic people tend to be better at reading me, and I'm better at reading other autistic people, but since most people are not autistic, it looks like the non-autistic folks can read (general) body language and autistic folks can't.

Dr. Prizant notes that one problem we run into is that we learn the rules and the exceptions, but it's another (and again unwritten ugh) rule that "generally people don't talk about the rules, they just follow them." (115). Which I'm going to point out is something in neuronormative culture that, yes, it's useful for us to know, but it's also something where changing that expectation is a required part of meeting us anywhere but the 97-3 split y'all like to pretend is halfway.  He doesn't point that out, by the way. I think he's still about helping us fit into a version of the mainstream where some people are a little more understanding while teaching us how to fit, rather than realizing that the mainstream is going to need to change big time.

Some more anecdotes follow with the usual problem. Blech.

One good point here: a problem with getting an assignment done could result from the assignment not making sense to the student. (Been there, done that, didn't get the T-shirt because the paperwork involved made no sense to me and no one believed me enough to help me with the paperwork...) Which is actually sufficient explanation on its own before shoving in the extra assumption that we don't realize it's a good idea to do class assignments and please the teacher. (Hint: I know full well that not doing an assignment is a bad idea. I'm still not going to push myself into a meltdown trying to do stuff I can't do, unless I know for a fact that letting the teacher see that result will get them to stop pushing me to try the thing I can't do. Self-preservation, not lack of social awareness. You can get a decent idea of my internal panic around the language utilization reports for my study abroad here, here, and here. The eventual resolution was "your residence adviser will help you" followed by "after her report from the attempt, we're not making you do those anymore." )

Also I feel like this tweet from real social skills is relevant here, since accessibility of assignments is getting discussed, even if it's not really getting framed that way:


Good idea pointing out that labeling pictures with emotions is different from understanding emotions or recognizing our own. (Did you know that we can't actually see our own faces to see if we look like w're smiling without the aid of a mirror?)

Soooo Lovaas got mentioned, but the apparently problem is that he insisted incorrectly that the ability to make eye contact when asked was needed in order to learn other skills. And that is a problem. But that as sole cited problem is really icky. (This is the guy who thought electric shocks were a good idea. This is the guy with the "you've got to build the person" idea. Very ew. Talking about him as an autism specialist and not as a horrible human being who didn't think we were human? Thanks, but no thanks.)

I have to wonder how much of what he's interpreting as not having the instinct to communicate what's bothering us is actually:

  1. Compliance training having explicitly taught us not to communicate what is bothering us.
  2. Difficulty initiating communication, which is right in DSM-IV and therefore shouldn't be a surprise to a clinician. 
  3. #1 making #2 even more of a thing.
Continue to part 8 here.

1 comment:

  1. Dahlstrom and Squires did just this study in 1988. [the one about labelling pictures]. They also used relevant emotional noises.

    Or maybe I'm confusing it with the Eisenmajer and Prior study of "Cognitive and linguistic correlates of theory of mind in autism" 1991.

    Why has no-one brought Lovaas to the International Court of Justice or to the International Criminal Court or to the Hague?

    Especially number one and compliance training.

    And what was in DSM4 by explicit criteria was alluded to in DSM3 and DSM3r.

    The comparison of learning social rules and learning to read body language to learning a second language in adulthood is actually quite apt. I've heard quite a few autistic adults compare body language to a foreign language, and not a particularly logical foreign language. (I think by logical vs. not logical in a language, the metric is how many exceptions there are to the "rules" of the language? English, for example, is not that logical because the exceptions have exceptions and we rifled through the pockets of other languages for spare grammar.)

    Another side of the "foreign" language bit is that, well, autistic body language and neurotypical body language are different, even within the same macro culture. Neurotypical people usually can't read my body language very well, and often can't read it at all, because they aren't used to interpreting autistic body language through learning what things mean and tend to simulate what would it mean if they were using that body language. It doesn't work well, because they are very different from me. Autistic people tend to be better at reading me, and I'm better at reading other autistic people, but since most people are not autistic, it looks like the non-autistic folks can read (general) body language and autistic folks can't.

    Dr. Prizant notes that one problem we run into is that we learn the rules and the exceptions, but it's another (and again unwritten ugh) rule that "generally people don't talk about the rules, they just follow them." (115). Which I'm going to point out is something in neuronormative culture that, yes, it's useful for us to know, but it's also something where changing that expectation is a required part of meeting us anywhere but the 97-3 split y'all like to pretend is halfway. He doesn't point that out, by the way. I think he's still about helping us fit into a version of the mainstream where some people are a little more understanding while teaching us how to fit, rather than realizing that the mainstream is going to need to change big time.

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