(These quotes are real, at least to the gist of what was told me.)
“You can’t — no, no whining! You just sit here next to me and wait quietly for the doctor. You are NOT going to bother people by grabbing all the magazines and lining them up on the floor. Don’t even ask ‘why’ — I’m tired of all the Why’s.”
“Will you quit repeating things over and over. What the devil’s gotten into you?”
“Oh, just stop flapping about every time you’re upset! Your baby sister doesn’t go around doing weird things like that!”
“Sit still, Andrea, no rocking. We don’t do that in school.”
“Stop doing that! You’re going to kill the grass, spinning around in circles like that. Now come inside and quit making a spectacle of yourself.”
“What were you thinking, kicking someone at school? How do you think that makes ME look — no, you just don’t think, do you? You can’t make friends doing that! I just don’t know what gets into you.”
“No, you can’t have something special. ‘Have it your way’ doesn’t mean you. We’re ALL having mustard and pickles on our cheeseburgers. I don’t know why you have to make everything so damn difficult for me.”
“Andrea, come out of the cloakroom, they’re just testing the alarm bells. Back to your seat now. There’s no need to stick your fingers in your ears; no one else is doing that.”
“I got a call from your teacher today. You need to stop complaining about people ‘picking on’ you.”
“Quit staring off into space, Andrea. You can’t spend all morning daydreaming — get back to your assignment.”
“And what’s my little monster done today? Broken any more glasses?”
“Omigod, only you would want sneakers with green stripes. Why do you have to be so weird. That’s it — I’ve had enough of this nonsense, hear me?”
“You can’t stay in the library during Pep Assembly; it’s a school event. Now now, it’s not that noisy and crowded; I’m sure there’s plenty of room on the bleachers.”
“This is the second time this month you’ve lost your gym clothes. You can’t keep doing this! I don’t want to hear any more stories about kids at school ‘taking’ things — you need to be more responsible.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself! Why are you trying to make me look bad in front of everyone? Can’t you just chat with people like a normal person, instead of yapping on and on about your damn trains?”
“Get that hood off your head and quit hiding in that sweatshirt. It’s summer! What do you have crammed into those pockets? And when was the last time you brushed your hair? You can’t go anywhere looking like that. You’re an embarrassment to the whole family.”
“Quit moping around and snap out of it! You can’t complain; your problems aren’t worse than anyone else’s.”
“Well, what are your plans after high school? You can’t stay here; there’s no more child-support. I don’t even know how you expect to take care of yourself; you don’t have any street-smarts.”
“Why are all the lights turned off? You can’t want just that little desk lamp.”
“Well I don’t think the lab equipment is noisy, and I have normal hearing. You can’t keep bothering people with these imaginary problems.”
Do those seem reasonable to you?
Does it seem reasonable to denounce someone for protesting about being bullied, for wanting to have things as simple as having their choice in burger toppings or sneaker colors, for having a different sensory experience, or for playing differently? Is a clumsy child a “monster”?
Is being autistic like being held captive by a monster? I wouldn’t say so, nor would a number of other advocates, yet Socrates of the New Republic has a link to the unnerving TV advert from Action For Children describes it as such. (Or rather, how a boy called Dan narrates it.) Mike at Action For Autism blog explains the background on AFC. Over at Biodiverse Resistance, Shiva notes that the advert:
treats “autism” as something somehow separate from the person – as well as assuming that every autistic person really wants to become non-autistic – which is as arrogant and bigoted as assuming that every queer person really wants to become straight, or every black person really wants to become white.
Sharon of The Voyage points out:
Dan’s story is tragic. He’s blaming himself for the problems he faces and has been taught to regard his autism as a monster to be defeated and that he would be better off acting as non-autistic as possible.
And Bev tackles the subject with one of her fabulous cartoons at her blog, Asperger Square 8. Trapped inside the autism monster … OMG, shades of demonic possession! For crap’s sake, YOU CAN’T be serious.
ABfH has resources listed for a campaign to complain to AFC about the “intolerance monster”.