Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jodie Gray Rosenblum on ASDay

This is Jodie Gray Rosenblum's post through Facebook.  You may not be able to see it if you aren't on her friends list but she has given me permission to paste it here.

Alright, so I decided that I'm going to participate this year in autistics speaking day for those of you who read my stuff. So... I've read some of my friends post already, and I guess in some ways this is a bit of a response.

There's a line in a song by Third Eye Blind, that goes "But we were broke and didn't know." and that sort of will be the basis on my rambling here today. Well... we weren't broke/and we're not broke (though some people think we are, if you don't believe me check your local bookstore), but for some of us we didn't know right away. To quote another song "Some say its a blessing, some say its a curse." might be said for those who got the diagnosis as older children, teens, or adults. Some people feel that if they were diagnosed younger maybe things would be better for them now, some people feel it's a blessing they weren't diagnosed younger and subjected to hours, days, and years lost on therapies in their childhood. I think that I'm one of those who's more of the latter opinion. I really like songs, so bare with me on the heavy song references throughout the post please.The song "American English" by Idlewild says "Maybe you’re young without youth , Or maybe you’re old without knowing anything true. I think you’re young without youth" and "Sing a song about myself, keep singing the song about myself. Not some invisible world." I think that today, some of us are doing that second thing. Not everyone's post look the same, in fact a lot are in different styles from other's contribution. Just like how everyone is so different, autistics, the larger neuro-diverse community, and neurotyicals (and I do really mean everyone).

 I know I have some friends who seem to live in a world where asperger's syndrome or PDD-NOS is placed upon some privileged pedestal and I normally don't publicly argue with them about this, but today here in my post I'd like to say: I think your wrong in your pedestal that you've created, I believe in creates a wall of separation that divides everyone.

 Finally, the last thing I think I'm going to attempt to touch on here.... are some brief thoughts on autism and empathy.  I know that some people believe that autistic people or people with autism (take your pick, I'm not in the mood to talk about this topic today) lack empathy or are incapable of having empathy. Maybe they read it in a book, or heard it from other people. I know some autistic others have contributed to the suffering of others by their own words expressing a lack of empathy. The merriam-webster dictionary defines empathy as "the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this". I can't speak for others, but I know I cried the year I saw Scott Micheal Robertson's presentation on bullying at a conference back in 2010. One of the images he showed was a drawling by either a child or a teenager of that child going into heaven as an escape from the bullying and struggles of their every day life, heaven was a happy escape. On that day and that moment, I could say I've been like that person in the past. The experience isn't isolated either, I know I've felt the same when I've read stories of gay and lesbian teenagers committing suicide. I'd imagine that some of my friends have felt the same way too.

So, I'm going to end my note here with one final line from the song "Plea for a Cat named Virtue"- "And listen, about those bitter songs you sing? They're not helping anything. They won't make you strong.".

Final comment: For more on autistics speaking day, or to read other contributions, go to:

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