Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Repecting and Preserving Personhood

Bill recently wrote an article for Huffington Post, "Autism: The Last Civil Rights Movement" that caused an unexpected response,at least unexpected to me.

Why do people associate respect for the human condition of autism as equating to the reprehensible refusal to treat that condition to develop it to full personhood? The two are different issues entirely; The first, addresses a means used to reach the ends, the second, refusing to address an ends. Why is cure, which equates in my own mind to a denial of self, the only answer offered by so many. Are they so blind to the child they are given as a gift, the potential of the child they are given that lies deeply hidden? Why are they so quick to want to trade that gift for another?

When I had my car accident and coma there was another girl on the hospital unit who my mother still frequently speaks of. Her accident was to her front temporal lobe, the area of the brain which controls our personality. Her mother was in grieving, but too guilty with her feelings of loss, because her child still stood physically before her. Only it was not her child. The girl had a new personhood because of the accident. Autism is like that. Treatment improper can rob one's personhood. The shame is that you celebrate it, oblivious to the loss. You fail to see what that woman saw in recognizing her lost child; NOT the undeveloped autist, but the never to be seen developed one had treatment taken a more respectful course.

What Bill asks is that we honor and develop the person present in respectful manner, not trade them in for a new model of false creation. The only thing that is worse than dealing with the binds of autism is dealing with the binds of a false persona. It is my opinion.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Process of Communication

I am sorry for my absence. I have been taking a college course in Communication and it is a lot of writing for me. It is a lot of learning too, about the neurotypical communication system. It is a process foreign to me. Why do you not teach it to us as a class like this?

Did you know eye contact has a word meaning all its own? It says I am listening in nonverbal language. It also cues the speaker that I want a turn to speak when increased in intensity and time. Why don't you tell us this directly? Then we can in tell you directly why it does not work for us as a process. That would be true communication.

My process is entirely different. I don't hear a word as a word. I see a word as a picture then translate the meaning to a word. To say it is raining cats and dogs ellicits that picture in literal fashion, which then gets translated down to downpour. I hear tone and volume and pitch, but I can not process it simultaneous with sight. I can alternate, but it takes great energy to do it. What you do simultaneously, I take in as a turn taking process. I am learning some accommodations though. If I am preprepared with my own agenda or fact background I can do a critical analysis of what is being said to me. It takes out a step that takes attention from the speaker. It makes it unnecessary for me to formulate the thought that is me. To focus on me is to ignore you. The critical analysis provides both in relationship but as one step.

It may explain the success of the social story this prestep set up. It may be useful in structuring meaningful interactive conversation, autistic to neurotypical as well.