Friday, November 28, 2014

The Gated Autism Community

No matter what autism statistic is most accurate, there are few participating in online discussions, which affect policy as well as society's perceptions. Therefore, this shouldn't be called an autism community. 
It would be fine to claim that the goal was to be inclusive. However, those who are most excluded aren't the bullies but rather their victims. This fits well with the suggestion that we need more celebrities representing us and raising our status above that of the disabled. With such exclusionary goals, there's nothing representative about this so-called community.
In an environment with true representation, many of the therapies would be described in a completely different way and may be abolished. Furthermore, if those who were diagnosed began to believe they were regarded as worthy of influencing the policy decisions that affected them, more abuse would be reported, and society would have less means of segregation.
Integration is mainly just presented as an unrealistic ideal by politicians who want to be reelected. It works similarly to the goal of curing incurable societal ills. The decision makers are afraid the diagnosed may truly integrate if they get too much of the support they need so they need excuses the valued public will accept. One way disabled people's exclusion is traditionally justified is by the claim they are morally inferior. The idea of inability and differences in access requirements, communication, perception, and expression are far too inconvenient. Instead, it works much better when it's suggested that people are lazy, immature, stubborn, and unwilling.
People who aren't influencing policy aren't neglecting to take on the task. Their inconvenient ranking prohibits them from doing so. No one believes the cart-before-the-horse approach to inclusion will do anything but protect the status quo. Nevertheless, people who need supports are expected to prove their worthiness before they can explain what support they need. People qualified to provide answers aren't be allowed to participate.
The traditional political arena honors standard hierarchical ranking and equates those with the lower ranks with deserving blame, punishment, and being ignored. It's suggested that those with a bird's eye or mountain-top view have earned their position, and others just aren't willing. Such people's lack of education and experience or their ignorance (these really are viewed as inseparable) classifies them as worthless.
In order to protect tradition those whose contribution is valued are believed to have already over-come the obstacles which others are facing. Having only a few contributions valued, and everyone expected to follow one of the few approved paths prevents any challenge to the traditional system and those who benefit from it. Not only is diversity perceived as a threat to the system and those involved in it, it's those whose perspective is different and those who will offer new and alternative approaches that are needed most in creating policy that will aid in their success as well as more success of others.
The online discussions concerning autism aren't public at all. The only people participating are society's valued members. The only way it can be considered a community is if the word gated is added as a prefix. As an extension of the system which promotes traditional values, re-electing politicians is all that will be accomplished.

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