Friday, December 6, 2013
Autism Answer: Our Autistic Society
Very many of my answers and thoughts and beliefs come from living surrounded by autism. So it didn't surprise me this morning when I said to my husband,"Ya, well.... Society's autistic."
Think about the symptoms we can see clearly. Should Gay people get married and adopt? Are taxes being used appropriately? Is that man over there using his connections unfairly or that girl over there flirting too heavily with co-workers? Should that teacher be allowed to pray in school? What kind of labeling do we need on our food to keep us safe?
These symptoms are chased, fought for and against, screamed about in the media, lunchrooms, and at family gatherings. They are distractions. Much like the meltdowns, stims, and perseverations we sometimes hate, love, or fear in our autism world. They are symptoms, signs of autism. Signs of Society.
Autism is not a stim or meltdown. It's a disorder. It's a brain that functions in a way that makes the person it lives in struggle with hurts and thoughts and challenges of often immense proportions.
Most of us in Society seem to be playing the role of ABA therapist in an attempt to heal or "cure" it. And, as with autism, ABA for any length of time is worse than an emotional waste of energy. It's dangerous.
Society doesn't need to be "cured" any more than autism does. But it needs help. It needs change.
In many ways we're getting it right, society and autism. And that's a beautiful thing to focus on! But in so many ways we are chasing, fighting, and giving far too much attention to distractions.
Rather than force a meltdown to stop, we must discover the reason for it. Rather than insist on quiet hands or stifle stims, we must discover why it calms and what our loved one needs calming from. And rather than making a person behave, we must ask ourselves why we consider "our"' way the right way to behave. These clues should never go ignored. They should be followed with curious intention and kindness, to discover the REASONS and answers within.
Society could learn a lot if it would stop pointing fingers, choosing causes, or diagnosing and labeling chronically.
Living with and accepting difference is often very hard. Knowing that there is no one "right" way means allowing people with drastically different views to blossom. This can be scary.
But stifling difference, taking away freedom to be oneself, telling a person that they are innately "wrong" or "broken" because they challenge you to see differently is far scarier.
And if we continue to busy ourselves only fighting to change education, or to tax the masses differently, or to discover which politician's sex life is more risque... we are ignoring the cause. We are making what my mom calls "busy work" of human inventions like laws, rules, and assumptions of politeness. Beautiful as they are, we are then refusing to deal with the issue of self. The issues of humanity, nature, and The Universe.
I have learned so much thanks to the challenge of living with difference. Autism has helped me discover my own ability to change, be flexible, understand others while standing my own ground.
Society could choose to do the same!
But it'll need a lot of help and understanding from us. While we promise to learn from it.
Because it's kind of autistic.
Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)