Monday, 6 December 2010

An Autistics Place in Society?

If you haven't already, please follow this link to Anna Raccoon's place.

I have a grown-up autistic son and understand really well how someone can misunderstand the actions of someone with higher functioning autism or aspergers syndrome. After all, you can talk to them as a normal person, they can converse quite well, but its only once you get to know them you notice the holes in their personality, the things that are lacking that make a whole person.

It may be the lack of social graces, or the liking for repetitive tasks or clinging to familiar patterns or places, it may be the fantastical goals they set themselves, it may be their wish to withdraw, or their irrational anger at being unable to express their emotions. But if you spend time with them, you will eventually understand what makes a higher functioning autistic different.

I have experienced first hand the grey area that such people fall into, the same one the authorities are using to incarcerate Stephen Neary and the same one the authorities use to wriggle out of providing support. Its a win-win situation for the local authority busy-bodies: on the one hand they can deny support until something bad happens and then use that grey area to remove the same person from society.

Having not been born "Normal", means the higher functioning autistic is denied the support a a normal person who later on in life develops a recognisable medical mental illness receives. Not being "sub-normal" means the higher functioning autistic, who has an IQ above the arbitrary limit defining learning disabilities is also denied the support a person with a learning disability gets.

Of course if those local authorities become engaged at the start and provide minimal but essential light-handed support (all that most HFAs need), then it would vastly improve the lives of higher functioning autistics allowing them to live decent lives and avoid the high-cost option of locking them up.

I know there are many HFAs either homeless or in prison. Homeless because they can't see the importance of paying bills or in prison because their behaviour doesn't conform to "normal" social behaviour.

In an age where inclusion is a supposed hot topic, the mandatory legal inclusion of many racial, disability, sexuality and social groups still refuses to include higher functioning autistics. They still have to step onto the first rung of the ladder to full inclusion in society and their exclusion is our loss and shame.

1 comment: