Games People Play (off and on the court)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”
~Albert Camus

There’s a newsclip kicking around the Web, from the CBS Evening News of February 23rd, 2006.  Normally I don’t pay attention to basketball.  Or baseball.  Or football.  Or hockeyball (joke).  This newsbite is different.  So different that CBS felt compelled to make a last-minute change in their programming plans to show this “incredibly powerful” story.

The newscaster explains, “Because he has been so devoted to the team, for the last game of the season, Coach Johnson actually decided to let Jason suit up – not to let him play necessarily, just to let him feel what it’s like to wear a jersey.”

And then near the end of the game the coach even lets him onto the court.  Finally getting to play in a game, rather than fetching water and toweling down sweaty team-mates, the basketball player made six three-point throws.  The crowd goes wild.

Gee, you’d think that a coach would want a player who could shoot like that to be on the court all the time …

View the newsclip now 

The whole situation reminds me of how I felt every year when the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated Christmas show appeared on television.  There was always something unsettling about the whole story of this reindeer with the glowing nose, and it wasn’t until late in my own high school years that I figured it out.

No one liked Rudolph because he was different.  In the beginning, his family tries to hide his nonconformity, covering up his nose with mud, but then Rudolph talks funny from the congestion.  Still, it is deemed better that Rudolph be perceived as talking funny, than for everyone to actually know the truth.  Eventually the disguise breaks down, and Rudolph’s glaring, glowing nose is revealed in the rough-and-tumble of playground mischief.  Everyone is horrified.  They always are when someone tries to “pass for normal” and is eventually outed.  People feel deceived, because the Other was not what they thought.

The reindeer games coach orders Rudolph away. So shunned, he leaves his North Pole village, joining up with another misfit, Herbie the elf, who wanted to be, oh horror, a dentist rather than a toy-maker.

A few years later there is a Christmas eve of such epically foggy proportions that Santa Claus cannot make his usual gift-giving rounds.  Santa realizes that he can still do so if Rudolph is allowed to lead.  Eventually everyone decides to tolerate the mutant reindeer, perhaps accept Rudolph a little bit, but only because he can be useful to them, lighting the way for Santa’s sleigh.  (Herbie gets to be a dentist, another occupation that is tolerable because it is useful to the others, rather than because Herbie has a passion for dental care.)

The program was made in the early 1960’s, coming off of the ultra-conformism of the 1950’s.  Everyone thought it was cute and sweet.  I couldn’t explain the intrinsic discomfort I felt as a child, not from viewing that particular show, or even in everyday life.  Nor could I explain why I identified so strongly with Rudolph or for that matter, the alien Spock from “Star Trek”.  When the neighbor girls compared me to the Professor from “Gilligan’s Island”, I couldn’t understand why that wouldn’t be a compliment – he was the only sensible one of the castaways!  But even the Professor, a quintessent geek (though thankfully neither of the foolish nor ugly duckling sort), was the odd one out.

The telethon poster child or “odd team-mate” is held up in the same way, but also held away at arm’s length, and Othered.  We’ll let him be on the team in an accessory manner because it makes us feel munificent, and because he might be exceptionally good at something we need.  (Were he merely mediocre, or even near or at the bottom of the list for overall skills, would he be on the team?)

But the mere fact that a team-mate is known more for being different than for any aptitude or acquired skill, and even the fact that stories about such people are circulated as ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! and exceptional shows that pity is still stronger than acceptance.

The problem with pity is that it creates division; it puts distance between people.

Pity prevents respect by implying inferiority; there is a humiliating lack of worth, because the person is defined by what they cannot do instead of what they can do.  Victims receive pity – but nobody wants to be a victim!

Pity is disempowering.  It does not decrease burdens by sharing resources and abilities. The people who see only the “broken” part are uncomfortable; that discomfort is a kind of Schadenfreude, a sense of relief that the bad thing (the disability) did not happen to you.

Pity is like magical thinking, where people want to give Fate some kind of token payment to avoid similar disaster from befalling them.

Pity is similar to both fear of the other, and to contempt for the Other; the Other must somehow have done something bad, and “deserved” their fate (as given to our social mores from the Puritan ethos).  Either way, it is dismissive of the person’s concerns, and denies their opinions, and their own personal view of reality.

Pity is not the same thing as compassion, where the other person is seen as being similar to one’s self, and is identified by who they are, is known for what they can do, and is accepted as being a worthwhile person to play with or work with, and to know and to love.

“Because he has been so devoted to the team, for the last game of the season, Coach Johnson actually decided to let Jason suit up – not to let him play necessarily, just to let him feel what it’s like to wear a jersey,” says the newscaster.

::BARF::

Meanwhile, too many people work endlessly hard at trying to “pass for normal”. The problem with pretending to be normal is that it gives power to the paradigm, to this concept of normalcy.  As long as the person is pretending to be whatever kind of average-normal they are not, they are devaluing themselves and allowing others to devalue them, and they are handing over their personal power to the realm of the imaginary Normal people.

Normal, average people are imaginary, because no-one is wholly average and normal.  However, the imaginary-normal people are a very real majority group.  They all pretend to be normal, and en masse they have majority power under that paradigm.

Wow, isn’t it absolutely amazing!  Autistics can play basketball.  Next thing you know, they’ll let Negroes or women play basketball …

Feh.

26 Comments

  1. 24 December 2008 at 18:18

    […] mince tarts, potato latkes and whatnot, here’s a re-run of a holiday-oriented classic post (from 2006): TODAY’S […]

  2. codeman38 said,

    22 December 2007 at 7:00

    There’s a quote from a character in the anime series Azumanga Daioh that goes right in line with this post. Here, as transcribed directly from the DVD subtitles, is Osaka-san’s contemplation on Rudolph:

    “There’s that red nosed reindeer, ya know? But that’s just terrible. His shiny nose is useful for dark roads at night, but that’s no consolation. If ya told a bald person that he was useful on the road at night, you’d get clobbered. Santa sure says some mean things, ya know?”

    Needless to say, Osaka’s one of my favorite characters in the series…

  3. mike curtis said,

    19 December 2007 at 4:16

    Is there anything so innocuous as a disability or abnormality so celebrated as to disappear from concern? Rudolph lost his celebrity victim status as soon as the world realized he could find his way around without help.
    Merry Christmas

  4. 19 December 2007 at 1:32

    No, I would say that, unfortunately in our world, until they prove their usefulness, those who are different are definitely relegated to the periphery of society, especially economically. For instance, look at the percentage of blind people who are unemployed. And it’s the same thing in Rudolph. And to me, it remains the same, 43 years after its first release.

  5. 18 December 2007 at 12:51

    […] out how to post using WordPress (despite following instructions!) I’ll just comment here on Andrea’s disability analysis of “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer.” I think she has some good points, but my take on it is a bit different. Although Rudolph […]

  6. 16 December 2007 at 23:34

    […] 16 December 2007 at 23:34 (Autism/Asperger’s, inclusiveness, paradigms) I’m trying to paint a small bedroom (doing so slowly, over the course of the day), which means no time for blogging.  But it’s also that time of year when the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated Christmas show appears on television.  There was always something unsettling about the whole story of this reindeer with the glowing nose, and it wasn’t until late in my own high school years that I figured it out.  Here’s a link to my post from last year, “Games People Play (off and on the court)“. […]

  7. Gordon said,

    7 July 2007 at 9:06

    It’s irritating as a disabled person to have to constantly prove that you’re worthy or of use to society to be ‘included’ within its fold. I’ve tried to ‘live up to’ the standards posed by ‘normal’ people by forcing myself to ‘walk’ and exercise at the detrimet of my wellbeing. But that’s past history. And yet, you find people saying that disabled people in history have been great contributors to society (like Einstein, Beethoven, etc) which implies that the value of disabled people rests only on what they can do or give rather on who they are.

    I also liked your analysis of ‘pity’ and as a young boy I felt its distancing effect when I was outside of school and in mainstream society as people often thought iI was less fortunate because I had a mobility impairment.

    On labelling: I guess before non-disabled people can recognise our worth, we must claim our pride as an oppressed group or reclaim our self-definition which has been hijacked by people who are not experiencing our life. Once we define ourselves, we can really challenge the conceptions of ‘normality’ that do nothing much but create invisible barriers between people as you rightly so.

    I enjoyed this post…

  8. Random Reader #25386 or somesuch said,

    13 November 2006 at 8:57

    I just have to say that you guys sound a lot more intelligent than all the supposedly “normal” idiots I went to school with.

    The sad thing is that it’s possible to be surprised by this. Society needs to stop telling us all this stupid crap about autistic people, and for that matter black people or gay people or whatever else, because 99% of it is full of shit.

    The ironic thing is, the “normal” people seem to have just as much trouble understanding the autistic people as the autistic people are supposed to have understanding the “normal” people.

    To Ed: I totally agree about the mental health system. I used to date a schizophrenic guy, and he could’ve functioned a lot better than he did if he hadn’t got so used to having an easy way out. If he thought something was too hard for him, he’d get his case manager to do it. If he got stressed or depressed, he’d try to get them to stick him in a mental hospital so he didn’t have to deal with any problems for a while. He was on bazillions of different kinds of meds, but the meds and mental hospitals and therapy never seemed to actually *help* him. I think the mental health system is screwed up because (a) they don’t really know how to help people, primarily because everyone is different & needs to be helped in different ways, which the vast majority of professionals either don’t grasp or don’t have the patience for, and (b) they like to keep them in the system because the more patients they have, the more funding they get.

    Here’s a story to show exactly how clueless some of the professionals are.

    At one point, my mom was diagnosed with some kind of depression, which they all said is always permanent. They were, therefore, rather surprised when hers went away after a while, without benefit of meds.

    The reason it went away? She dumped her boyfriend who’d been treating her like crap for the last I don’t know how long. I mean, duh.

    Ok, I’ll stop rambling now. :P

  9. 5 November 2006 at 1:35

    […] And then near the end of the game the coach even lets him onto the court.  Finally getting to play in a game, rather than fetching water and toweling down sweaty team-mates, the basketball player made six three-point throws … Hope you like itLink to original article […]

  10. David N. Andrews MEd (graduating Dec2006) said,

    3 November 2006 at 23:27

    Exactly my point, mun kuninkaani Lauri :)

    I do indeed deconstruct the tests, because that is what it’s all about… finding out what the fuck it’s all about! :)

    Without that… we’re bollocksed :/

  11. 3 November 2006 at 21:56

    David I won’t presume to teach you about the Wechsler tests as you have priveleged access to use them and so presumably deconstruct them too, but there is more than one way of looking at the differences between subtest scores than PIQ vs VIQ one can look at different subsets of the tests and compare them and in fact through doing that get quite different results, Indeed I have been reading Lincoln, Kilman and Allens 1995 paper which does just that in a metastudy of various others results. But of course I am far too dyscalculic to grasp what any of that is on about :)

    Oh well if you want a real challenge read Penrose’s Emporers new mind.

  12. David N. Andrews MEd (graduating Dec2006) said,

    3 November 2006 at 16:23

    “I certainly was very productive” bugger!

    In my hurry to get to H&P’s for a spot of Thai chicken soup, I left a couple of words out….

    I thought it certainly was very productive.

  13. David N. Andrews MEd (graduating Dec2006) said,

    3 November 2006 at 15:06

    Wow… this post is going to be long….

    “David and Andrea,
    What you are describing here may indeed prove helpful to me.”

    :)

    “My test scores have never been practical. Instead Ive learned over much time and effort to attain the support that I need, that people giving the test begin with an agenda. It would be fine for those giving the test if they found that how I scored might meet their agenda but I dont.”

    The agenda… therein begins the bullshit aspect of psychometrics. :/

    The agenda should be about things that one wishes to find out about the person in order to provide appropriate support. This was Binet’s intention that the test he developed, and it has (very confirmingly of his fears) been left out of the equation… the tests are now used mostly to exclude. To me, as a psychologist, this is an abuse of the testing protocols used.

    “I actually do have the deficeits they describe but I have failed to show how my strengths could be described better and therefore utilized practically. I have many abilties and Im grateful for them. If I choose to not be considered smart its not because Im seeing myself as less than or putting myself down.”

    I’m not sure if they should be called ‘deficits’, per se; certainly ‘differences’ would descibe things best (since they come mostly from perceptual issues which are known to be quite different; see Michelle Dawson’s new post on what Simon Baron-Cohen has to say on perception in autism. I’m wondering how you could actually get your strengths recognised; it’s clear that you have a great many… if not, you would have difficulties with my posts, since when I get going I can get very theoretical and technical. The problem seems that the standardised tests used with you have not been appropriate for the job: sure, it is useful to know what areas one needs support in, but it is also important to know what strengths you have too, so that you can “use those strengths to get round the issues that the ‘perceived deficits’ don’t help with'”, as I said last year, at a conference in Tampere.

    “Its certainly not because I want pity.”

    Same here… have you seen Amanda’s “Piss On Pity” t-shirt? :)

    “However that seems to be the only way most people can see it because too often they need a conveinient way to dismiss people rather than take the extra time and effort to do what they consider ‘widen the gate’.”

    Absolutely. The laziness is really on the majority side, with regard to thinking properly about things… safety in numbers, basically (and bugger all to do with being right).

    “I hate being pitied for the same reasons Andrea described (Im now trying to address both of you, you too Andrea. If this is productive, I hope either of you will respond).”

    I think that it is very productive. Basically, we’re discussing issues that relate to being on the spectrum, and we can see that – despite the differences in test-results – we can communicate (ergo, the test results are not being used correctly in your case), and we can recognise in each other something that we can relate to from our own respective experiences.

    “Just as families can create the “looping effect”, societies norms can create an even bigger challenge.”

    Absolutely. I wrote on this topic for what would be my BA(Ed) thesis (if I can get the actual degree from Oulu).

    “Society too often acts as the extended family and conditions people to not only fail but to be seen by others as failing which can create this looping effect.”

    This is a very accurate perception, Ed.

    “My time on the streets and in mental institutions has given me quite an education. I believe strongly that the conditions that put people in these places or situations are rarely understood. Once there, its very hard to break away from that realm. Really I was just fortunate to have done so. Many are not so fortunate.”

    Again… very accurate perception. You’ve seen this side of how society works first hand, and you – to use Spearman’s laws – have apprehended that reality, and you have identified the relationships between those salient points too; you may even have been able to educe the correlates that help with extrapolating into generalities, but might have difficulties in finding the words to express the non-verbal/pre-verbal ideas that you hold in your mind on this point.

    “While there are people that work in mental institutions and shelters who really care, sometimes even those people cant see that the system that they work for ultimately doesnt feel that it will benefit from TOO many people breaking away from it.”

    Indeed… and this is one of the main issues in my work as an educational psychologist in Finland; namely that the emphasis here is on ‘care’ and that ‘education’ is not an option. Care ties a person to a place, whilst education liberates.

    “The prolem is that the funding sources do not coordinate well with the programs or institutions.Therefore the people who work in these places often feel that they are given 2 choices:
    1) Pity the mental patient or homeless person or
    2)Give them “tough love”(I hate that word).
    Between these extremes most people trying to give support and those needing it, get stuck.”

    Yep. I’d say you have that very accurately too.

    “Many people are far less fortunate than I. My goals are attainable I plan to see to it that the system change in order to stop wasting tax payer money in contiuing to keep me quiet and out of the way. I also plan to show the system how to better provide for others so that things change for them too.”

    You have my best wishes for success in doing that. I think that this is what the autistic community on the net is actually doing now… making our own voices heard, and challenging the status quo of the ‘disease-state/medical-care’ model of autism and how autistics should be dealt with by society. And this, ultimately, is what pisses of the likes of JBJr, and a great number of other people who present a challenge to the stereotyped image of the autistic person as a lesser person, with lower achievement expectancy.

    “I tell people that Im smart and they talk in language that I cant understand. I tell them Im not and they are condesending. If I have to choose I usually say Im not. Otherwise I dont have a chance at learning. I shouldnt have to choose. No one should. Im sharing this here because I dont see anyone here doing either. I rarely have such an opportunity.”

    Remind me sometime to tell you what was found out when Mexican street kids selling things were tested according to the WISC-R protocol… some interesting notions come up regarding types of intelligence like ‘test intelligence’ and ‘real-world intelligence’. Very interesting study, it was.

    “I have 2 main educational deficeits.”

    Actually… what you decribe here are – albeit it somewhat seriously presenting – very much in line with two of the three most common specific learning difficulties that seem to crop up in the experience of autistics. All specific learning difficulties stem from the interaction between neurobiological differences in memory and perception and the demands of culture regarding the technologies that it determines as being the means by which knowledge is created and shared and stored.

    “1)Weather it be habitual or biological (I thinks its some of both) I dont read well. Mainly I have visual trouble focusing on one word at a time. I skip over alot so I often miss alot.”

    Dyslexia.

    “2)My math skills end where algerbra begins. I have no inherrent or aquired ability to do it.”

    Dyscalculia.

    “I WILL get past this. Ive gotten past plenty. I will not be disempowered by pity nor will I be assimilated into ‘the norm’. I hope this was productive. Thanks for letting me share it.”

    There are indeed ways around learning difficulties, and there are ways to avoid being disempowered by pity-ists and avoid being dragged into the crowd. From my point of view, thank you for sharing it.

    I certainly was very productive. I hope that my input here proves useful to you.

    All the best,
    David

  14. Ed said,

    3 November 2006 at 13:27

    O.K. Now Im really not interested in a debate but I really want to write productivly here. Im trying to understand.
    David and Andrea,
    What you are describing here may indeed prove helpful to me. My test scores have never been practical. Instead Ive learned over much time and effort to attain the support that I need, that people giving the test begin with an agenda. It would be fine for those giving the test if they found that how I scored might meet their agenda but I dont. I actually do have the deficeits they describe but I have failed to show how my strengths could be described better and therefore utilized practically. I have many abilties and Im grateful for them. If I choose to not be considered smart its not because Im seeing myself as less than or putting myself down. Its certainly not because I want pity. However that seems to be the only way most people can see it because too often they need a conveinient way to dismiss people rather than take the extra time and effort to do what they consider “widen the gate”.
    I hate being pitied for the same reasons Andrea described (Im now trying to address both of you, you too Andrea. If this is productive, I hope either of you will respond).
    Just as families can create the “looping effect”, societies norms can create an even bigger challenge. Society too often acts as the extended family and conditions people to not only fail but to be seen by others as failing which can create this looping effect. My time on the streets and in mental institutions has given me quite an education. I believe strongly that the conditions that put people in these places or situations are rarely understood. Once there, its very hard to break away from that realm. Really I was just fortunate to have done so. Many are not so fortunate.
    While there are people that work in mental institutions and shelters who really care, sometimes even those people cant see that the system that they work for ultimately doesnt feel that it will benefit from TOO many people breaking away from it. The prolem is that the funding sources do not coordinate well with the programs or institutions.Therefore the people who work in these places often feel that they are given 2 choices:
    1) Pity the mental patient or homeless person or
    2)Give them “tough love”(I hate that word).
    Between these extremes most people trying to give support and those needing it, get stuck.
    Many people are far less fortunate than I. My goals are attainable I plan to see to it that the system change in order to stop wasting tax payer money in contiuing to keep me quiet and out of the way. I also plan to show the system how to better provide for others so that things change for them too.
    I tell people that Im smart and they talk in language that I cant understand. I tell them Im not and they are condesending. If I have to choose I usually say Im not. Otherwise I dont have a chance at learning. I shouldnt have to choose. No one should. Im sharing this here because I dont see anyone here doing either. I rarely have such an opportunity.
    I have 2 main educational deficeits.
    1)Weather it be habitual or biological (I thinks its some of both) I dont read well. Mainly I have visual trouble focusing on one word at a time. I skip over alot so I often miss alot.
    2)My math skills end where algerbra begins. I have no inherrent or aquired ability to do it.
    I WILL get past this. Ive gotten past plenty. I will not be disempowered by pity nor will I be assimilated into “the norm”. I hope this was productive. Thanks for letting me share it.

  15. David N. Andrews MEd (graduating Dec2006) said,

    3 November 2006 at 8:36

    Okay…

    “So, youre saying that the best way to understand someones ability is not to widen the scope of standardised testing because the goal of those tests is to define person based on the concept of ‘normal’.”

    Point 1 pretty well understood.

    “Not only do these test not reach any such conclusion as they claim to be aimed at, but normal doesnt really exist at all when it is reasearched comprehensively by someone who really understands the process.”

    Point 2 pretty much got, proviso being that tests can never reach conclusions…. that’s people’s job.

    “Also, the test are really not practical in for making a conclusion that can be applied for how a person can learn, understand their environment, or percieve relationships etc.”

    Not without a lot of observational work on the part of the tester… the test only indicates performance level when only the result is taken into account, so point 3 pretty much got, too.

    “If the non-norm-reference test such as ones that include and/or are based on Spearmans neogenic laws, are added to the standardised testing for intellectual functioning, there will be better results for what these kinds of test are ‘supposed’ to accomplish.”

    Point 4 actually quite well understood… Spearman’s neo-genetic laws are the same laws that the quantitative tests are based on (his work has been supported through experimental evidence using factor analysis, so we can assume that his ‘g’ factor is pretty much there, even if we cannot accurately define it; this ‘g’ factor is responsible for the chain of abilities required for intelligent behaviour generally, as laid out in the neogenetic laws that Spearman proposed). The basic idea is that we’re looking for evidence that behaviour has been based on the chaining of those abilities … without the person being assessed needing special training to do apply those laws.

    “Also if there is a panel of experts on the subject someone is being tested on that explain what they are really looking for by using the test, the results of the test can be compared to those expectations. i.e. If youre going to look for an answer, its best to begin by clearly defining the question.”

    Point 5 quite well understood too. It goes beyond defining the question, in fact… one has to start by doing that and then by defining a means for knowing what the answer is likely to be. In mathematics (numerical analysis of non-analytically-integratable functions), we use certain methods of predicting numerically where the curve is going, i.e., what the next value of the function is for the next value in the domain… and essentially, the use of a framework for predicting the form of an answer comes from that area of mathematics: things start to really work well in numerical analysis when you start to use methods known as ‘predictor-corrector’ methods.

    “Thats how it seemed to make sense to me.”

    Well done. I know psychologists who can’t get that!

    You’re obviously more intelligent than your test results gave you to think. JBJr is less intelligent than his claimed degrees lead him to delude himself to be. Not in the results, but how they were got.

    Well done, Ed.

  16. Ed said,

    3 November 2006 at 2:35

    So, youre saying that the best way to understand someones ability is not to widen the scope of standardised testing because the goal of those tests is to define person based on the concept of “normal”. Not only do these test not reach any such conclusion as they claim to be aimed at, but normal doesnt really exist at all when it is reasearched comprehensively by someone who really understands the process. Also, the test are really not practical in for making a conclusion that can be applied for how a person can learn, understand their environment, or percieve relationships etc.
    If the non-norm-reference test such as ones that include and/or are based on Spearmans neogenic laws, are added to the standardised testing for intellectual functioning, there will be better results for what these kinds of test are “supposed” to accomplish.
    Also if there is a panel of experts on the subject someone is being tested on that explain what they are really looking for by using the test, the results of the test can be compared to those expectations. i.e. If youre going to look for an answer, its best to begin by clearly defining the question. Thats how it seemed to make sense to me.

  17. David N. Andrews MEd (graduating Dec2006) said,

    3 November 2006 at 0:01

    Well, Ed… What I’m really saying is that there is no such thing as normal, from the psychometric point of view: given the defined limits of ‘normal’ range and the number of scales one which one could have to score between those limits in order to be ‘psychometrically actually normal’, there’d be way too few people actually measuring within the normal range on all scales. Example:

    I use a test called WASI – Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. It has four subtests: vocabulary, similarities, block design and matrix reasoning. It also has two clinical scales – verbal IQ (VIQ) and performance IQ (PIQ). There is also a combined scale – full-scale IQ (FSIQ). That’s seven scales, and to be psychometrically ‘normal’, one has to be within normal limits on all seven scales. Of the sample scores (and therefore the population scores, by extrapolation), only 68% of scores will fall between normal limits, assuming that the limits are from -1 standard deviation to +1 standard deviation (the inter-quartile range definition would give only 50% as opposed to 68%).

    When one has to think of combined probabilities where one condition has to be true for all events, then the probabilities are multiplied. So, 68%x68%x68%…x68% (i.e., 68% times itself, seven times, or 0.68^7) is about 1 in 150, so one person out of one hundred and fifty people is likely to be within normal limits (‘psychometrically normal’). As the number of scales goes up, the number of people you’d have to find in order to find one ‘normal’ person also goes up. My standard battery uses WASI (4+2+1 scales), NEO-FFI (5 scales), DTVP-A (6+2+1 scales) and K-FAST (2+1 scales)… a total of 24 scales to be within normal limits on… that’s 0.68^24 :)

    That’s 1 in 10466 :O

    I have never met a normal person yet! ;)

    What this means is that, whilst the tests can give us useful information (if we observe how the scores were actually got!), we really do need to look for other evidence of intelligence (such as it can be said to exist; remember, it’s a property of behaviour, since we infer it from behaviour). Such other evidence might best be obtained from qualitative assessment. If that means accepting that there is ‘intelligence’ to be taken into account beyond the scope of the test, then – yes, the psychologist must think outside the box themselves to see how others may be thinking outside the box. In the end, we have to put psychometrics out as a whole discipline that includes qualitative assessment as well as quantitative assessment. Only by doing this would we get the real sort of information that we need in order to conduct an accurate assessment, and find ways to include people who are currently outgrouped by the system as it stands. In other words, rather than widening the scope of standardised testing,I’m saying that using additional non-standardised (as in non-norm-referenced) tests will give a better idea of someone’s intellectual functioning than will a standardised test result alone. Examples of such other tests might be based on Spearman’s neogenetic laws: ‘ability to apprehend reality’, ‘ability to perceive relationships’ and ‘the ability to educe correlations’, and could be developed by asking a panel of subject-matter experts what sort of behaviours they’d expect from a person who could negotiate a given task or set of tests ‘intelligently’.

    Make sense? Do tell.

  18. Ed said,

    2 November 2006 at 21:04

    David,
    You can derive mathematico-statistical psychometric proof of this rareness of normality?(Try and say that 10 times fast) Are you saying that by making the effort to see how some people learn that is different or “outside the box”, more people can actually be accomidated and therefore succeed at what they may wish or what they may REALLY be good at? Are saying that widening the scope of standardized testing ultimatly benefits everyone?

  19. David N. Andrews MEd (graduating Dec2006) said,

    2 November 2006 at 17:21

    I can derive a mathematico-statistical psychometric proof of this rareness of normality. I’m one of very few psychologists to actually bother to do it.

  20. Sharon said,

    2 November 2006 at 10:44

    Brilliant!
    You’re right to say no-one is really normal. I might think I’m normal, or at least average, without putting much effort into being that way. But if I look at how others might see me, I act and think many things that are outside the traditional ways of my culture.

  21. abfh said,

    31 October 2006 at 22:31

    I’ve just written a post that links to yours and discusses these ideas:

    http://autisticbfh.blogspot.com/2006/10/cultural-indoctrination.html

  22. n. said,

    31 October 2006 at 14:40

    PS: Please check this post which is interesting along similar lines:

  23. n. said,

    31 October 2006 at 12:42

    weren’t Albert C. and Simone de B. on the spectrum??? i always kinda thought they were, but haven’t re-read them after discovering my own autism…

  24. 30 October 2006 at 23:07

    Aah Camus, the myth of sisyphus, l’etranger what an existentialist he was.

    I read an appaling piece of prose the other day by a neuroscientist no less that wrote off Kants philosophy as the product of his brain tumour.

    Well Camus has I think a special position for us.

    My autism and my writing are of course one and the same, I have (or my autism has if you prefer it that way) even written a paper to explain that.

  25. 30 October 2006 at 15:57

    “They all pretend to be normal, and en masse they have majority power under that paradigm.”

    I hadn’t thought about it in quite that way before, but you’re correct. Humanity never would have been divided into the “normal” and the “abnormal” if so many people hadn’t been expending so much energy to keep their differences from the norm carefully hidden at all times.

    By now, it has become very dangerous to do otherwise, if one wants to get through school… or keep a job… or just play a game of basketball. Fear is a tremendously powerful motivator. Whenever the media shows us a story like Jason’s, the subtext always is: Unless you’re normal, you’d better get used to carrying the towels, because it’s going to be absolutely amazing if anyone gives you a chance to do anything else.

  26. Lisa/Jedi said,

    30 October 2006 at 15:50

    I agree wholeheartedly. I was also really upset when I saw in our local supermarket (I live in the same area as Jason & his family) t-shirts commemorating his feat with the legend “Fight Autism” at the bottom… talk about your mixed-up messages. Feh.


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