parental ableism

Stop vilifying adults that live with their parents.

We’re still deep in one of the worst economic recessions of modern times. For many of us its not a choice but a requirement in order to survive. For many of us we have disabilities that make finding accommodation that suit our needs a lot harder and a lot more expensive.

Many of us pay into the household. Many of us are trapped in abusive households because we don’t have the means to leave. We aren’t moochers or afraid to leave the nest. The world simply isn’t built to support us anymore.

Suggesting that disabled people are “too expensive” to live is patently bigoted.

Suggesting that it’s fine for parents/potential parents to only want abled kids is patently bigoted.

Framing disabled kids as too expensive and too much work is ableist and disgusting.

Is this how you talk about the needs of abled kids?  As being “too much work” and “too expensive” and “a burden”?  The needs and lives of disabled kids are not less valid than those of abled kids.

anonymous asked:

Hello, Thank you so much for your videos, they have been very helpful. Our son has recently been diagnosed ASD, ADD. He is four, he does a-lot of scripting. My question is, can he be scripting laughter? You can tell it is a forced/fake laugh he does at times when he thinks others are laughing or something is supposed to be funny. I'm curious if that's the case. p.s. Thank you for your video on vocal stimming, he vocal stims alot, now I understand why and that it is a positive thing for him.

Hi anon. Thanks for the message, this is something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Everyone scripts laughter. Everyone, regardless of neurotype, has laughed at someone’s unfunny joke out of politeness or because it’s just what’s expected. ‘Cause frankly, allistic standards of interaction are really weird.

Sometimes I really do find something amusing but don’t have the “laugh urge”, so I just fake it to convey my amusement for the benefit of people around me.

Autistic people are simply at a disadvantage because we may have a harder time/take longer/be unable to perfect the real-sounding-but-unspontaneous-laugh that non-autistic people tend to master earlier.

Keeping in mind that some autistic people (like myself) have charming, warm, 100% fake laughter/smiles that people totally believe. There are some allistics who can’t act to save their life and whose fake laughs are not convincing at all. People, in general, vary this way.

Like, some people’s laughs simply sound forced or awkward. It doesn’t mean they are laughing wrong.

There have been situations in which I can’t call on my acting skills, so I need to decide between laughing and sounding totally forced/fake or sitting there, smiling, hoping my silence isn’t misinterpreted or considered rude. 

Also, social pressure is powerful. Humans want to belong, and most of us desire to be accepted socially and included in stuff. I mean, a pretty common nightmare (even for allistic adults) is being with a group of people who are all laughing at something, only you aren’t laughing, because you don’t understand, and there is anxiety about this being discovered.

It’s good and very human to want to be doing what everyone else is doing. For autistic kids, who from our earliest years sense that we are different and that things are harder for us, fitting in and faking laughter is survival.

But it should also be taken into consideration that four-year-old across the board are funny, weird, charming, awkward little people who are all similar and yet very different from each other. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a four-year-old fake-laugh convincingly.

Some parents- not saying this is you, but it could be- learn that their child is autistic and lose their frame of reference, or take on a really distorted one. Parents can start examining every little behaviour or habit, holding it up against the autism diagnosis, squinting, moving it around, trying to see what it “means”.

Parents can start attributing meaning or significance to what are simply the quirks and traits that come with being a tiny person. It’s good to keep an eye out for that kind of thinking in yourself.

But really, the gist is that people are weird and kids are weird. And your son is only four-years-old. That is very young. Much too young to be worried about the frequency/sincerity of his laughter. All toddlers force/act/try on/fake emotion. It’s how they learn. 

So your son may be truly amused and laughing for the benefit of the people around him, in which case, that’s nice of him. He may be scripting laughter for purely social reasons or mimicking people around him. This is good. This is how kids learn.

Give him lots of opportunities to try laughing to convey his genuine amusement, and he will probably pick up on how to sound more “natural” (aka how non-autistic people sound) as he gets older.

Me: *explains my intense paranoia and how it causes panic attacks*

Parents: that’s ridiculous!!! Just remember that it’s not real!!!! You’ll get over it!!!! You shouldn’t be paranoid!!!!! Just tell your brain it’s not rational!!!!

Me: bitch I still think that people can read my mind, do you think my mind cares what’s ‘rational’???

“I don’t want him to feel different”

I’ve encountered a lot of parents and professionals who are reluctant to talk to disabled children about their disabilities.

People often believe that children with disabilities are innocent, and that they can protect their innocence with silence. They express concerns along the lines of “I don’t want him to think something is wrong with him,” or “I don’t want her to feel different,” or “I don’t want them to feel bad about themself.”

You can’t protect disabled kids this way. They know that they are different, and they know that this difference is perceived negatively.

Some examples of how kids figure out that they are different:

  • Kids watch what other kids do.
  • Typically developing younger siblings develop skills that they still haven’t mastered and may never master. They notice. They also notice how their parents react to this.
  • Kids with disabilities often see other kids their age doing something that looks fun, try to join in, and find that they can’t keep up. They notice, and they have feelings about this.
  • They also notice when other kids think they’re weird or boring and avoid them.
  • If they go to a special education program, they notice that other kids don’t take the short bus to school (and they hear what other kids say about the short bus, or they see it in their body language.)
  • They also notice that their school is really different from schools on TV and in stories.
  • All the kids their age on TV and in stories can do things that they can’t do. They notice.
  • Disabled kids often struggle to understand something that’s clear to everyone else in the room. They notice that this happens a lot.
  • Kids with disabilities get called the r-word, or the moral equivalent. 
  • Adults expect them to do things that they can’t on a regular basis. Other kids their age can. Adults are disappointed or angry. They notice.
  • Kids notice when they have to go to therapy and other kids don’t.
  • Kids notice when doctors hold them down for painful procedures while they struggle and cry. They notice that this doesn’t happen to kids in stories and that it’s not in any of the books about being a kid.
  • They notice that they have a lot of tests and that they’re talked to in ways that other kids aren’t.
  • They are often required to follow rules that other kids don’t have to follow. They notice that, too.
  • Parents talk about how tired, scared, and overwhelmed they are by their child’s needs or navigating the systems. Kids overhear. 
  • Many kids also eventually overhear the name of their condition and google it. 
  • And any number of other things.

Your silence doesn’t protect them from any of these experiences; it just isolates them. Kids are already bearing the pain of disability and of other people’s reactions to their disability. If no one will talk to them about it, they are also very, very alone. You can’t protect their innocence; you can break the silence that isolates them.

Honestly Stop “Autism Parents” posting videos of their Autistic children online without their explicit consent you all creep me the fuck out

Dear parents who don't let their kids watch TV,

If your reasons have anything to do with “TV rotting their brains” or it being “for their own good,” I’ve got some bad news for you.

First of all, making a generalized remark like “TV rots your brain” is lazy parenting. There are plenty of great shows out there for your kids to watch (Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, Adventure Time, Avatar: The Last Airbender and its successor, The Legend of Korra–although the last two went off the air awhile ago–and that’s just to name a few). It’s your responsibility to monitor what your children watch, because the unfortunate reality is that there are really awful things that shows intended for children can and do get away with. I know that in an ideal world, parents wouldn’t have to worry about that, but our world is far from ideal. The point being, your “all or nothing” (which in your case, equates to nothing) method of parental supervision in regards to television is reductionistic, and cutting TV out of your kids’ lives entirely can cause them problems you likely weren’t even aware of…

…which brings me to my next point. Children who don’t grow up watching television are at a HUGE disadvantage socially. Children relate to one another through expressing common interests and experiences, just as adults do! You shocked yet? Children who don’t have access to those shows are at disadvantages with being unable to relate to and experience the same things their peers do. I grew up not watching TV–my dad thought TV was an evil poison that had to be obliterated, so he destroyed the antennae on our roof for getting basic network to ensure that NOTHING could get through to the giant box we used to watch VHS tapes of the few movies we were allowed to see. Also, before you jump at my family for being ultra conservative or religious (since those types are typically associated with being overly restrictive toward what their children can watch), remember this–I grew up a progressive liberal vegetarian atheist. I am still two of the three, since I need red meat for the iron content, but that’s a story for another day. My dad had liberal views in a structurally conservative mind, in that he was incredibly close minded, self-righteous, and unable to think in terms that weren’t blatantly black and white (thanks, alcohol-induced depletion of the basil ganglia and cingulate gyrus). Part of that self-righteousness came in the form of not only priding himself in staying away from “the idiot box,” but attempting to teach me and my brother to pride ourselves over the same “accomplishment.” It worked up until we got to grade school, and realized that we had no common ground to talk about with our peers. It led to being ostracized, excluded, and overall unable to relate or form connections with other students.

In examples more extreme than mine, the social isolation led to much more serious and irreversible issues, particularly centered around mood disorders and suicidal tendencies later in life (though they were never a direct cause in any case). Our family’s issue was more reversible, since I started watching The Simpsons online when I was 12, just so I could have something to talk about with my peers. I ended up loving the show, and expanded out to more “adult animation” type shows, but my TV-watching didn’t really take off until we gained access to Netflix, since my mom was always resentful that she had agreed to sacrifice TV when there were so many great shows she wanted to see as well. Yeah, this problem doesn’t just affect kids. If one spouse forces the other into this situation, the spouse who reluctantly agreed to it often feels the same social isolation and inability to connect with their friends that the children do. It’s just more detrimental to children in the long run, because growing up in an age of technology makes technology-produced mediums the pinnacle of their social lives, whereas adults in book clubs can discuss other books they’ve read (though I’ve never sat in on one of my mom’s meetings without someone mentioning a TV show everyone had been keeping up with, and my mom sitting there with a pained look on her face).

No matter your age/place in life, the belief that television rots your brain is an invalid argument, because even if there’s a lot of crap out there, the shows that hit their mark really do hit their mark. In terms of socialization among children, the purpose of a shared experience is very different than it is for teens and adults, since children in single digits are unlikely to sit around critiquing and analyzing the quality of the show at hand. However, it creates a sense of common knowledge, which in turn makes everyone with that same common knowledge feel included. Nobody likes to be the only one left out, nobody likes to miss out on something great, and nobody likes to feel like they can’t connect with other people (even if it’s just one other person), so to all the parents who relentlessly refuse to let their children watch TV–whose interests are you really protecting? Your children’s, or your own?

Me: *has misophonia* *cannot cope with the sound of singing, whistling, humming, etc.*
My mother: I am here for you, I’ll try to support you, I understand
Also my mother: *gets angry when I ask her to stop doing these things* *sympathises and defends those who trigger me* *doesn’t believe my panic attacks are real* *makes a fuss about me wearing my earphones and headphones in the house*