Dear Allistic Tumblr,

Please kindly stop using “ND” in cases when the person, people, group or issue to which you’re referring is specifically autistic.

(For example, an autistic person started the #actuallyautistic tag and #actually tags in general, and to refer to that creation as by an “ND person” is erasure, since it started in response to Autism Parents and A$ and every other annoying allistic talking over autistics about autism and cluttering up the tags. The creation of #actually anything cannot be referred to as a generically ND thing when it is something that occurred in specific because of autistic-specific ableism.)

Because all I’m seeing is allistics, even ND allistics, using “ND” as a way to avoid saying “autistic”, and that is both erasure and ableism. “ND” is only appropriate when you’re referring to the ND community at large, to issues that impact us all, as a way of uniting many different sorts of folks who have similar experiences and access needs. It is not appropriate to use as a way of not saying “autistic”.

If the person, people, group or issue you’re discussing is specifically autistic, say the word. Autistic.

(Yes, I saw more of this happening today, and I’m now really afraid this is starting to become a thing. Please don’t let this be a thing.)

autism is widely underdiagnosed in girls because autistic women tend to present as quiet and reserved, which is just how women are supposed to be.

personality disorders are underdiagnosed in men because they tend to present more explosively and involve more narcissistic behaviours, which is just how men are supposed to be.

sexism isn’t good for anyone. don’t be fooled.

Why I Refuse To Support PETA

As most of you know, PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) produces lots of sexist, racist, fatphobic, and even ableist ads. Their ideologies match, unfortunately. They are incredibly unreasonable, too, and they effectively want to remove companion animals from human contact entirely.

Members of PETA have done the following to me.

  • Attempted to take my service dog’s leash
  • Threatened to take him away
  • Sent me death threats
  • Threatened to euthanize him out of “mercy”
  • Claimed that I am a “slavedriver” and “active participant in the speciesist h*l*caust” (Ah yes, please tell the romani-german-native girl that she’s basically a Nazi. Good idea.)
  • Left threatening voicemails on my phone.
  • Scared me so badly that I had to move house at one point
  • Grabbed my service dog
  • Tried to pry my hand off of my service dog’s harness
  • Threw paint on a faux fur-lined coat I was wearing (the paint got matted in my hair to the point where I had to shave my head)
  • Speaks openly on their hatred for service dog handlers.

MYTH:

I see you did the thing you said you couldn’t do!!

REALITY:

- did suboptimal / substandard version of the thing

- considerably tearful as a result

- exhausted from thing

- feeling lousy

- internalised ableism having a party

- will need recovery time you won’t witness, therefore will be unable to do certain basic tasks

… but yeah, by all means, believe I did thing.

please don’t talk abt mental illness or use mental illness terminology unless you’re mentally ill or have actually researched it. pls. i beg of u. i’m tired of hearing “i’m so ocd so-” or “why’s she so bipolar?” or “are you fucking autistic” or “i got a panic attack from my test anxiety!” or whatever the hell else it physically p a i n s me

Since April is coming up I think I’m going to do some posts talking about how bad of an organization autism $peaks is.

First hardly any of the money they raise goes towards helping autistics. The majority goes back into funding even more fundraisers and research into a “cure”. Second they don’t listen to autistics. Unlike other organizations there are no autistics in autism $peaks and they refuse to listen to the voices of autistics.

Third autism $peaks really dehumanize autistics in the way that they talk about autism. They’ve been known to say stuff like “autism ruins marriages” and have constantly referred to autistic children as being “missing”. They talk about autism as if it’s a cancer, a disease that needs to be eradicated. If you want a clear picture of how autism $peaks views us autistics then you should watch their 2009 awareness ad titled “I am autism” though I warn you the video is disgusting in how it talks about autism. The video makes autism out to be a creepy stalker that will steal children away from their parents. The whole video is really sickening and I warn you to only watch it if you think you can handle it, maybe read a transcript of it instead if you’re really curious.

Finally they have funded some really terrible things such as the Judge Rotenberg Center which used electro shock “therapy” on autistics. They abuse autistics to stop them from doing things that are normal autistic traits such as stimming. This place needs to be shut down and I’m amazed that it hasn’t been yet. I’ll probably make another post talking more about this place later.

So in conclusion, this April do not “light it up blue” as that is an autism $peaks movement. Autism $peaks us a horribly ableist organization that is practically a hate group. If you support autism $peaks then you are not supporting autistics!

white person: i hate people of color lol

poc: that’s literally racist-

white person: hey can you please delete this post? i was having a panic attack and that’s why i called you racial slurs behind your back for three months on skype. also how do i even know youre a real P.OC. person when you’ve never posted a selfie? jfc you racefakers are vile… and honestly this post seems really… ableist to me?? like just say you hate people with bpd lmaooo 

#tw ableism #tw poc #why is this bitch calling me racist when all my ids are japanese

Autism Parents™ hate their children. There is no way to talk around it, no way to deny it.

They hate that their children are autistic, they hate that they don’t blend in. They further push rhetorics which are harmful to autistic people. And they raise their kids with that exact rhetoric. They raise their kids to keep their hands quiet, to perform to standards not made for them instead of fighting for acceptance. Instead of fighting for their kids to have an environment that treats them how they deserve to be treated.

Honestly… I am sorry for all of you who have Autism Parents™…
You are not a burden. You are not in pain because you exist and because you are autistic. But because of how people treat you. Because of your parents telling you that you are.

You are fine. Being autistic is great.
It’s just society that’s gross and I’m sorry that even your parents told you otherwise.

Ableism almost killed Stephen Hawking in the 80′s.

This is a casual reminder that Stephen Hawking was almost allowed to die due to ableism.

Stephen got so sick because the advance of his ALS made his larynx weak and it wasn’t doing the job of keeping spit and food out of his lungs when he swallowed. In the 80′s, he contracted aspiration pneumonia while at CERN. He got rushed to a hospital where he was placed in a medically induced coma and breathed via a ventilator. Doctors urged Jane (wife) to pull the plug because “he’s too far gone”. 

Think about it: Doctors put Stephen into a position where he couldn’t answer for himself, tried to tell his wife that he was too far gone and tried to tell her she should pull the plug as an act of mercy. 

I doubt that would have been said if Stephen wasn’t so visibly disabled by his ALS. It’s funny how people in the medical field tend to be so quick to give up on a patient if they already have a visible disability when they are brought in, but will throw all the medicine and machines they’ve got at somebody who isn’t visibly disabled. I don’t think doctors even realize they have this bias.

Thankfully, Jane stood up to the doctor. She said no, declared that Stephen must live and had him returned to Cambridge. She knew her husband better than the doctors. She saved his life.

Stephen had a tracheostomy done, which prevented him from speaking, and he spent some time on a ventilator while he recovered from the pneumonia. He initially communicated via a letter board by raising his eyebrows when the right letter was chosen. Then he went on to get the computer that gave him his famous voice. 

A little aside– Stephen has the option to get a new, more “human” sounding voice, and he refuses because he’s grown quite attached to the “robot” voice he’s so well-known for. He sees that as his voice now and identifies with it. (”Even though it gives me an American accent,” he once joked.)

Later, he had a laryngectomy because his larynx was causing a lot of trouble with swallowing food. Getting rid of it increased his quality of life. As far as I know he’s still swallowing just fine and eats and drinks by mouth with help from his assistants. A video of Stephen talking about the tracheostomy and laryngectomy can be found here. (No surgery images, but he describes medical tests and talks about the problems with eating.)

He communicates nonverbally with his caregivers using just facial gestures. One of them said Stephen can just look at him a certain way and he’ll know whether he’s saying he needs attention or everything’s fine. I read somewhere that Stephen grinds his teeth to express disapproval. (Yo, behavior is communication!) He communicates with more than his AAC device, it’s just a matter of learning to read him like his caregivers do.


‘No quality of life,’ the doctors said in the 80′s.


(Sarcasm) 

I guess this is ‘no quality of life’.

(/sarcasm)

[Stephen giving lectures at a university.]

[With the cast of The Big Bang Theory.]

[Experiencing zero gravity.]

[Looking sharp at the BAFTA’s!]

[In his office at Cambridge University, doing what he loves– trying to find the real theory of everything.]

(Sarcasm) 

Oh yes, his quality of life is just awful, isn’t it? 

(/sarcasm)


The only person allowed to determine Stephen Hawking’s quality of life is Stephen Hawking himself. And guess what? His life is great right now!

He almost wasn’t here. Ableism nearly ended his life in the 80′s.

Thankfully, he’s still around to sass people and keep us curious about the universe.

Here’s a documentary where Stephen tells his own story in his own words. CC’s are available for those with hearing or audio processing issues.

* * * WARNING: Video has flashing lights that may upset seizures or migraines.
* * * TRIGGERS: Dramatized hospital scenes, food consumption and alcohol consumption.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi8jMRMsEJo (not my video)

Btw the girl in the thumbnail is goofing off with him by making that face.

I saw a post about the difference between a soft can’t and a hard can’t and thought I’d do some words about the concept (post linked here)

a “soft can’t” is also a “really shouldn’t”.

“I can’t talk to my old abuser” is, for me, a soft can’t. I technically can and I’m often forced to - but doing so is horrible for my mental health and puts me in danger.

a “hard can’t” is what most consider a “true can’t”

“I can’t go 4 days without water” is a hard can’t. If I - or anyone else tried - they’d likely die (I know the ‘rule’ is 3 but it does depend on health, hydration when you start, climate, etc…)

Here’s the thing - people accept a “soft can’t” all the time. 

They can’t own a cat because they’re allergic (they can, but it’s bad for their health).

So why is a “soft can’t” ignored when it comes from a disabled person?

I can’t stop stimming (I can, but it would lead to more meltdowns and impact my mental health)
I can’t stop wearing my bracelets (I can, but they’re comfort items as well as weight + tactile stims so I get incredibly anxious without them)

Even more so - why is a “hard can’t” ignored when it comes from a disabled person?

I can’t stand still for more than a few minutes (I have orthostatic hypotension and standing still for more than a few minutes means I won’t be standing anymore)
I can’t stand in general for more than a few minutes (specifically on a bad day, but see above for reasoning)

Nearly everybody I’ve told this has brushed it off (especially PE teachers - including the one who was there for the incident that got it diagnosed)

(P.S. - we all know why)

lilith-eves-last-stand  asked:

Sorry if this comes off ignorant, I don't mean it... My son is 4 1/2 and was diagnosed two years ago. I try to do the best I can and let him be him 💕 but while he's in speech therapy (he's still moving into the idea of talking), schools in the area (private) push ABA for students with autism. But I see young adults like yourself saying ABA is NOT good. I'm more inclined to listen to someone on the spectrum than those not, but what is the issue with ABA?

First, I want to say that I am so glad that you are turning to the autistic community for help. This isn’t an ignorant question at all. There is so much conflicting information out there about ABA that it can be hard to even know where to begin. It sounds like you really want to help your son as best you can which is admirable. 

To start off, not all therapy labeled as ABA is actually ABA. I’m going to explain what the issues are with true ABA and then explain how to figure out if the therapy they are trying to push on your son is ABA or not. 

ABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis. It is a scientific method that involves observing the individual in order to identify “target behaviors,” i.e. behaviors that are undesirable to the parents/therapist. Next, aversives, rewards, and operant conditioning is used to eliminate these behaviors and encourage wanted behaviors. Overall, this may not sound like a bad thing, so let’s get into why this therapy is harmful. 

The groundwork of ABA therapy is the idea that autistic people are broken and in need of fixing. Our natural, non-harmful behaviors, such as stimming or lack of eye contact, are targeted as behaviors in need of fixing. The main focus of ABA is making a child “indistinguishable from peers,” i.e. to make the child seem “normal.” 

This often includes things like getting rid of stimming (often with the phrase “quiet hands”) and forcing eye contact in order to make the child less noticeably autistic. The problem with this is that stimming is a coping mechanism for autistic people. We stim to regulate our emotions/senses, cope with stress, and express ourselves. Eye contact can be uncomfortable or even painful for us and being forced to perform it can be just awful. 

Further, changing these behaviors does nothing that is truly beneficial for the child. Instead of being trained out of behaviors that are non-harmful, an autistic child should be taught ways to manage their autistic traits in a way that is useful and productive for the child. For instance, if a child is uncomfortable making eye contact, learning to look at a person’s forehead or nose is a great alternative as most people can’t tell the difference. 

Further, due to the focus on making a child indistinguishable from peers, there is often a push towards verbal speech even when atypical methods of communication like sign language or AAC would work better for the child. 

ABA therapy operates by using rewards/reinforces and punishments/aversives to train a child to perform wanted behaviors and to stop unwanted behaviors. Rewards are withheld until the wanted behavior is performed and aversives are used when an unwanted behavior is performed. Often, foods, such as gummy bears, candy, or other tasty treats, are used as rewards as well as praise or affection, access to a comfort object, break time, stickers or stamps that can be traded for privileges/rewards, or access to a special interest. Additionally, some therapists make use of a clicker, a device that makes a loud click sound originally used for training animals, to indicate that a wanted behavior has been performed and that a reward is coming. 

For aversives, the removal of a comfort object, withholding of snacks, removal of reward items, or prevention of engagement in a special interest are often used. Some therapists also use “taste aversives” like pickle juice, vinegar, hot sauce, or other bad tasting edibles, as well as “tactile aversives” which would be making the child touch something that sets off tactile defensiveness or distress. Withholding praise or affection is also used as an aversive. 

In DTT (Discrete Trial Training), a form of ABA that is considered to be kinder than other versions of ABA, the therapist will not look at, engage with, or respond to the autistic child until the desired behavior is performed. Similar methods are employed when unwanted behaviors are displayed. 

As a treatment, ABA is centered around compliance training, in other words, making a child compliant to the desires of the adults in their lives. Rather than focusing on how to help a child live the best autistic life they can, the focus is put on making the child seem “normal” no matter what the cost to the child. This serves only to make parents more comfortable and does little to help the autistic child as they progress through life. 

Using aversives on a child ranges from bad to cruel depending on the aversive used. Withholding rewards from the child, particularly when those rewards are food or other necessities, creates insecurity in the child. Further, by training a child in this way, the child becomes more vulnerable to victimization. When you are told by all the adults in your life that you must ignore your own pain and discomfort for the sake of adults, how is a child to know when they are being abused? How is a child to know that the adult touching them in that way is wrong when they are forced into hugs which are painful for them? 

You may have noticed that what was described here sounds an awful lot like dog training, and that’s because it is. ABA trains a child in the same way you would train an animal which is dehumanizing. Autistic children are not animals whose behavior should be crafted to suit those around them. Autistic children are unique individuals who need support and care. 

Finally, ABA therapy is often a full time job for the autistic child. Often, 40 hours a week or more of therapy is recommended for optimal results. It is ridiculous to put a child through such a strenuous routine. 

So what are you to do instead? Obviously you want to help your child live the best life possible which is wonderful. There are plenty of therapies that can be very helpful to autistic children. Speech therapy, which you’re already doing, can be great for children who are struggling with verbal speech, though methods of AAC should be provided until the child is able to communicate verbally (and even then, AAC should still be available for times when the child goes nonverbal/semiverbal). 

Occupational therapy to help with sensory integration or motor difficulties or other areas in which the child is struggling. There are also play-based therapies like floor time which can be very beneficial to autistic children. No matter which therapies you utilize to help your child there are a few things to keep in mind. 

First, therapy should be supplemental according to the child’s need rather than the central aspect of their life. If the therapy schedule would be exhausting for an adult, it’s not appropriate for the child. Next, does this therapy help the child live the best autistic life they can or does it focus on making the child appear to be “normal”? Normalization is for the benefit of parents while good therapy focuses on helping the child with things that the child finds problematic such as learning to cope with sensory issues or learning better communication (whether that’s verbal communication or AAC). 

So how do you figure out is what is being presented to you is true ABA or something else masquerading as ABA? There are some questions you can ask to help sort this out. First, though, we need to go over why there are therapies that aren’t ABA calling themselves ABA. In the US, most insurance plans will ONLY cover ABA for autistic children. As such, many therapists who perform other therapies have resorted to labeling themselves ABA in order to be covered by insurance. This allows them to work with children that otherwise wouldn’t be able to access these therapies. As such, what is being pushed for your child may not be true ABA. 

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What is the goal of the therapy? As we’ve discussed, ABA focuses on making the child “indistinguishable from peers” or normalization. If you hear that phrase, turn away and don’t look back. Even if the therapy isn’t ABA, the goal of making a child appear “normal” is not a useful goal for the child and can be detrimental. 
  • Does the therapy make use of rewards and aversives? We’ve discussed why aversives and rewards can be damaging to a child. A good therapy for your child will use other means to discourage harmful behavior. 
  • Does the therapy emphasize compliance? Compliance makes for a “well-behaved” child but does not lead to a healthy, independent adult (which I’m sure is what you’re hoping for in your child’s future). Therapies should focus on helping a child manage any harmful traits they have without forcing them to be compliant to an adults wishes. Just like all children, autistic children will not always be obedient or follow adults’ wishes. This is how it is supposed to be. Children need the space to make their own mistakes and learn and grow. Compliance teaches a child to shutdown their own needs and desires to fit the desires of another. 
  • Does this therapy discourage non-harmful behaviors? Autistic children will sometimes engage in behaviors that are harmful to themselves or others. These behaviors definitely need to be addressed and worked on. For instance, a child’s stims may physically hurt another person such as grabbing onto other people to stim. This behavior is not ok and a parent/therapist should work with the child to redirect the behavior. However, ABA often focuses on stopping behaviors that are not harmful. For instance, most stimming does not hurt anyone. It may be atypical behavior, but it generally does not hurt the child or anyone else. If a child is being bullied for their stims, that should be addressed with the school to change the harmful behavior of the other students rather than stopping the child from engaging in behaviors that are useful for self-regulation and expression. A good therapy will focus only on discouraging harmful behaviors. 
  • Are you allowed to observe the therapy as you please? In non-harmful therapies, you will generally be allowed to observe the therapy whenever you wish as they have nothing to hide. If a therapy will not allow you to observe what is being done, then it may be harmful to your child. However, even some therapies that are harmful may allow observation, so, when you do observe, make sure to really pay attention to how they treat your child. 

If the therapy being presented to you passes all of these questions, then it is not true ABA and could potentially be helpful for your child. As we’ve discussed, there are many therapies that can be beneficial to autistic children. Some useful goals of therapy could include:

  • Changing harmful behaviors- if a child is causing harm to themselves or others, the behavior needs to be addressed and the child should be provided with alternatives to help redirect the behavior. For instance, if a child is playing with their own poop, the child needs to be taught that this is unsanitary and provided with playdoh or other sensory tools to use to redirect the need for sensory input. Similarly, if the child hits others while melting down, one alternative may be providing the child with a pillow or stuffed animal to hit instead. 
  • Communication- While many therapies focus on speech, the true goal should be improved communication. This may include speech as a goal if that is within the child’s abilities, but it should also include forms of AAC to be used for communication either until the child is able to learn verbal speech or instead of verbal speech if speech is too difficult for the child. AAC can include letter boards, picture boards, text to speech apps, among others. Sign language can also be useful in facilitating communication. 
  • Managing Sensory Input- Many autistic children are hyposensitive and/or hypersensitive to sensory input. As such, it is important to teach the child ways to manage their sensory sensitivities. This may include managing their sensory diet by setting aside time for sensory play, use of sensory defenders like headphones/ear defenders/ear plugs, sunglasses, or other methods of regulating sensory input, and stimming as a method of regulating sensory input. 
  • Anything that causes the child distress- If a child is struggling in an area and it causes them distress, that is a good thing to work on in therapy. For instance, if the child is having frequent meltdowns, one of the goals of therapy should be to figure out why the child is having so many meltdowns and find ways to accommodate the child to prevent meltdowns. Similarly, if the child struggles with socializing with other children and is upset by this, social skills classes may be beneficial. If something is upsetting for the child, then it is likely a good goal for therapy. However, if the child is not bothered by something, therapy likely isn’t necessary (unless it is causing harm to the child or others).

So this got super long. I hope I’ve addressed everything you needed covered. If you have anymore questions, you are welcome to send me more asks or check out @autism-asks to get more info about autism. 

Finally, I’m going to leave you with some links that cover ABA from other perspectives:

I hope this helps you and your son! 

-Sabrina

I think it’s a massive contradiction when society worships cultural icons such as Wednesday Addams or Daria Morgendorffer for being super intelligent and authentic, but then at the same try to manipulate autistic girls into feeling self-conscious about themselves by telling them shit like ‘it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it uwu’ while re-contextualizing everything that autistic girls say and do to make it seem worse than it actually is.

1. Being a sociopath does not make you evil. Like how having DID or BPD does not make you evil. Saying that being a sociopath makes you evil is very ableist.

2. Navy isn’t stealing the ship. If your car was stolen, but then you found it and took it back, would that be stealing? No. You would be taking back what’s yours. So what Navy is doing isn’t stealing, she’s taking back something that was stolen from her.

3. Taking her ship back so she can rescue the other Rubies does not make Navy a irredeemable villain. It makes her a hero. The other gems weren’t going to rescue them, they were going to leave them floating in the void of space forever. Now that makes someone a irredeemable villain.

4. Are you sure that Navy is the first irredeemable villain?

The Diamonds; who wanted to kill Garnet, tried to destroy the earth twice, corrupted every single gem on earth (except for Pearl, Garnet, Rose, and Amethyst), created the cluster, own slaves (Pearls), have a actual human zoo, is holding every single other Rose Quartz captive and might shatter them at any moment, most likely killed “defective” gems before they had a resource shortage, are actual dictators, and who literally colonizes planets (like how Europeans colonized other countries); are irredeemable.

If you think the Diamonds are redeemable because they cried about some other irredeemable diamond and that Navy is irredeemable because she took back her ship so she can rescue her comrades, you are a piece of shit

if the crewinverse tries to paint Navy as being irredeemable, I’m flying to wherever the hell CN is headquartered at and I’m gonna legit fight the writers.