Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Big (and Ableist) Difference between Self-Diagnosed and "Professionally" Diagnosed Autistics

Paula C. Durbin-Westby writes The Big (and Ableist) Difference between Self-Diagnosed and "Professionally" Diagnosed Autistics on her blog.

I am tempted to leave the entire post blank.

But perhaps a bit of explanation is in order.

Someone in a conversation suggested that at conferences, Autistics with "professional" diagnoses should "lead conversations," leaving the self-dx'd Autistics as a sort of second tier. Some of the participants in the conversation (including some Autistics) argued that self-diagnosed Autistics are "more extreme." Here's my take, short in the interests of time, which I don't have.

I don't agree with having professionally diagnosed people take precedence. When it comes to opinions about autism, I don't see ANY DIFFERENCE AT ALL, seriously! between the opinions of self-dx'd people and professionally dx'd people. What, the professionally dx'd ones are "less extreme?" I'd need to see a "professional" study on that! That's a stereotype, and a very disturbing one,

In fact, if you are Autistic, you are Autistic, whether or not you have a dx. Many people go through life being Autistic and don't know a thing about autism discussions or autism advocacy, either because they are not in a position to know aobut it or due to low interest, or perseverations (if I may be so bold to use that term) that tend away from autism advocacy.

Now, I think the people in the discussion were thinking about possible solutions to the problem of having NO Autistics represented, on WAY too many panels about autism, at WAY too many conferences. This needs to stop. But to label self-diagnosed Autistics (which is often the only diagnosis that Autistics will get-- self-diagnosed and maybe PEER-CONFIRMED, due to financial and other limitations, and due to the shortage of QUALIFIED diagnosticians [just got yet another email from someone asking me for resources about diagnosing ADULTS]) as "less than" or "not to be given as much weight as "professionally diagnosed Autistics" is troubling for many reasons.

The most important thing I am thinking about is not this particular conversation, which is rather interesting. It is the implications for feeling justified in ignoring the very legitimate views of Autistics who can't afford (in many senses of the term) to get an official dx. Remember, pre-existing conditions has not been decided once and for all, and neither has employment discrimination and a whole host of other discriminatory actions that can be taken against people who have an "official" autism diagnosis.

1. Hierarchy of "more Autistic than you" WITHIN the Autistic Community.
2. Dismissal of Autistic viewpoints of self-dx'd Autistics, MANY of whom have been instrumental in creating the Autistic community (some subsequently receiving diagnoses later)
3. Allegations of "misdiagnosis" or demands (strong requests, then) to show proof of diagnosis, by some Autistics and certainly by non-autistic advocacy groups.
4. some other stuff. I will have to come back to this.
5. Oh yeah, important point! People who might be considered to have "extreme" views (NO CURE comes to mind) could be disproportionately requested to "show their diagnostic credentials" before being "allowed" to speak/communicate/talk/write for events.

The sequestering of self-diagnosed Autistics from EQUAL and MEANINGFUL participation in conferences and other events is ABLEIST. Scary ableist.

P.S. In the interests of transparency, yes I do have a diagnosis. No, I am not going to scan it in and post it. Are you going to scan in your diabetes test results or your blood pressure or your lateral epicondylitis? Me either.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Open discussion is encouraged, but posts judged to be bullying or using inappropriate languages may be deleted. Please exercise good judgment when commenting. Comments will be moderated.