When I started writing this blog I wanted it to be a place to showcase my skills as a writer. I have written a lot over the course of my life from works of fiction like Ivory Requiem to articles for the Daily Titan and Examiner.com
This blog is about dispelling that ignorance about autism that still exists.
I realized over time that there was a lot of ignorance about autism still in the world. It exists despite all the bloggers and vloggers who try to spread awareness of the disorder.
On the other hand the battle for awareness of autism has made great inroads among neurotypical people. There are now two types of neurotypical people I have met. Those who know people who know people with Autism and people who don’t. This blog is primarily for the people who don’t but sometimes it applies to the people who do. Ignorance and prejudice can be a fickle things many people may not be aware they even are prejudiced or ignorant. Others are more blatant about it. Even the nicest and most caring of people can be ignorant at times. Even people who know people who have autism.
This blog title was chosen for a reason. There is often repeated phrase that occurs among people with Asperger’s is that we feel like we are from a different planet. A good example of this is the website WrongPlanet.net which was created by Alex Plank. The site itself is meant to be a community site for people with Asperger’s. The title of the website itself is representative of the idea that I mentioned about Aspie’s sometimes viewing themselves as being from a different planet. The idea has become widespread among Aspies, so much so in fact that a culture has developed based on this widespread view that we are not like people who don’t have autism. We have even developed a term for non-autistic people: neurotypical. Many members of the autistic community believe in neurodiversity.
There are two groups of thought in the autistic world. Those who want to cure autism and those who believe in neurodiversity. Mike Stanton in “What is Neurodiversity?“describes it this way:
“The idea of Neurodiversity was developed by autistic people in opposition to the pathologizing model. According to them autistic people are not disordered. They have a different sort of order. Their brains are differently wired. They think differently. They do not want to be cured. They want to be understood.”
Up until the 1980s mothers were blamed for the autistic behavior of their children. Autism was often called Refrigerator Mom Syndrome. The focus eventually shifted to a more genetic component. It was from there that people began looking for a cure for autism. However, many people who have autism began to feel that they should celebrate their differences especially the differences in our brain functions from people who did not have autism. As with any group in order to differentiate from the group they are separating from by labelling them. The name neurotypical basically refers to someone who does not have autism. The autism community chose that word because the word normal had too many negative implications. Neurotypical as a term rejects the idea of a normal brain because that would mean that anyone who has autism has an abnormal brain. Also what would constitute a normal brain remains to be determined because brain functions depend on factors that are relevant and different for every person.
- Is there a symbol for neurotypical people (wiki.answers.com)
- Living Life With Autism II: Perspectives (forbes.com)
- Against Neurotypical Condescension (theawl.com)
- Neurotypical (bipolarblast.wordpress.com)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: Aspies and Neurotypicals – On the Same Team (jajsamos.wordpress.com)