I was invited to join a private group on Facebook for people on the Autism Spectrum. I was told that it was run very well, and that the admins kept a keen eye on posts. This was because a particular group had been spammed repeatedly with religious posts saying a certain monotheistic religion’s deity needed the person to share a post to ten groups, or his arch nemesis (a red guy with horns) would win.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for religious freedom of speech. I mean, I own – and have read – three different books of holy scriptures, so I’m pretty diverse and tolerant – or at least I’d like to think so.
I decided to take this person up on the offer and join the group. I’m not going to mention the name, for obvious reasons. As a private group, I had to confirm I’d read the rules before being allowed to join. Mostly, they were straightforward, like no promotion of ABA therapy or Autism Speaks, etc. Fairly standard stuff in most ASD groups I’ve joined really. But then there was a question I thought was a little strange. It read:
“Do you understand why functioning labels (including Aperger’s and Aspie) are harmful? If no , are you willing to learn?”
I was curious as to why this was the case. Sure, I understand tha functionality labels like high or low functioning can be harmful, as they’re not really applicable, and I covered this very thing in my post Higher or Lower in December. I can at various times seem either low or high functioning so I understood that bit. The term Asperger’s, though, I didn’t understand, as it’s still used as a diagnosis in the UK, even if the Americans stopped it being used in 2013. So, I answered the questions and waited.
“You’ve been approved to join the group”. Hurrah!
Then I got a notification to say that I’d been sent to a page explaining the question about labels, so I could be educated on why I was wrong, and the things I needed to learn to be able to stay within this group.
The article read: “No functioning labels or “ Aspie Supremacy” we’re all autistics here, there’s no need to “other” yourself in this way. Functioning labels are ableist and Aspergers/Aspie are particularly ableist as well as being rooted in Nazi history.
I thought this was a bit harsh, as I am diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.
It then continued to say “Aspergers specifically is much worse than just a functioning label. Aspergers syndrome was a functioning label featured in the DSM for 19 years (1994-2013) and has now been removed because it is inaccurate.” This is only the case in the USA – the UK still uses it. They went on to say: “The only recognised autistic diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder. Aspergers was used by high functioning people to separate themselves from their autistic peers. Even if you were diagnosed with Asperger’s, it’s not ok to use that term here. If you’re caught using said ableist Nazi labels, you will be muted for 24 hrs and sent to this page to learn why such labels are offensive to all autistic people.
Really? I’m autistic and I don’t find it offensive.
What I do find offensive is the fact that I can’t refer to myself as I was diagnosed. Admittedly, mostly I’d say to people that I’m autistic, as I have a form of ASD. But to be called an Aspie Supremacist is not only rude, but also it’s the kind of attitude that drives a wedge between all of us on the spectrum. I don’t think I’m better than another fellow person on the ASD, just because I occasionally say I have Asperger’s. For goodness sake, there are times when I stutter and become non verbal or meltdown like any autistic person. We’re all one big neurodiverse tribe, so why can’t we just get along, instead of creating issues that don’t exist?
I didn’t join the group…
Stay Safe X
Wonderful post, Bob. It is a shame that people take this view of the Aspergers diagnosis. Fellow Aspie here and happy to know I’m not alone. 🙂 x
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I’m getting a lot of haters calling me everything from racist to nazi sympathiser. So thank you for your kind words
That sounds like a very bad experience with the autistic community. I’m glad you didn’t conform to their agenda or their policy on use of language. I myself have had encounters with people like that.
What I find irritable about the autism community is how their politics are full of neurotic behaviour and obnoxious sentiments. I am a proud out and open autistic conservative and I have been goaded by them because my ideas even though I aspire to be something better than they. Its like as if the autism community wants to dictate the liberties of their fellow aspies and have them stick to collective order. Thats not for me.
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Is it rather an expression of trying to over-simplify what may appear to be a complex world?
To create a set of rules and invite participation creates a controlled group, which is safe and separate.
In a wider context is Brexit whereby a Country seeks to isolate itself and to retain characteristics, which it never really had because they were created by the cinematic propagandists of World War Two under the direction of Alexander Korda and Winston Churchill.
At a lesser level are clubs like The Apostrophe Preservation Society whose rules follow an arcane logic and whose meetings are so convoluted as to be almost unworkable.
People have an innate need to feel that they are in control of something, even if it does not make sense.
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