Being strident and militant, does it help your cause – or damage it?
As an autistic adult, I strongly believe in those of us who can, speaking out to get our voices heard. I believe in us asserting our rights, speaking out against abuses against those like us and fighting for awareness and reasonable adjustments.
Autism by it’s nature, means we can get hyperfocused on issues, we can pursue them determinedly, ignore the status of those which might intimidate others and see the logic behind things that others miss. But there can be a negative side to it too. We can be relentless to the point of concentrating on the aspects we have seized on and ignoring other pertinent information, being so detail focused we don’t see the bigger picture. We can ignore social etiquette to the point that we don’t see we are alienating those we are trying to reach.
There are some in the autism community, who become very angry at people viewing autism as a disability. This is not helped, by those intending to be helpful, coming forward and pointing out the positive qualities of autism, proclaiming autism is only a difference, not a disability. Some autistics therefore are very strident and militant in condemning anyone who recognises the deficits in autism and the disabling nature of many features of it.
Let’s get one thing clear, all forms of autism are classified as a learning difficulty. Not all however, are a learning disability, usually that term applies to those with a low IQ. But the deficits in social imagination, the failure to always understand humour and sarcasm, to understand the intentions of others and the frequent difficulties those classed as “high-functioning” can have with such things as self-care and independence are all learning difficulties. Autism (including Asperger’s syndrome) is a diagnosis that is not made unless you meet the criteria of the symptoms negatively impacting your daily life. Even PDD Other (PDD NOS in the USA) is severely impacting on the lives of those with it. So let’s stop pretending shall we.
Having said that, we have all heard of autistic savants, many autistics have prodigious memories, photographic memories, amazing creative skills and musicality – and many excel at computers and programming. Some autistics are productive members of society – or would be given the right support and reasonable adjustments (although employment rates are notoriously low for those on the spectrum). We cannot however, ignore those who are non-verbal and incredibly disabled by their condition, who will always need supportive care, never be independent and whose parents struggle to support them day-to-day, under immense stress.
Naturally, anyone who speaks out on behalf of autistics is doing so with a good heart and good intentions. But sometimes, the more strident and militant among our community, can stand on their soap boxes and unfairly condemn others. Sometimes those others are parents trying to help their children. Some parents may be misguided, so worried about their child’s difficulties and future that they look for what may amount to ‘cures’ and remedies.
It disappoints me to see autistic campaigners using their anger to rail against those doing their best to support their autistic children. Naming them “abusers” without understanding that they only want the best for their children, is inflammatory and unproductive to the autistic cause. If I saw proof that certain products were harming autistic children, I would be the first to condemn people using them knowing they were harmful. If harmful products are out there, mainstream research needs to test them without bias or financial interests so that mainstream can accept them to reassure the public, or the authorities need to act to make them illegal if proven to harm. People trying to help their children may be duped, they may need educating, but they don’t need condemning. They are worrying who will look after their autistic children when they are no longer around and trying to make their child’s present day-to-day life easier.
I have yet to see evidence that either GcMAF or MMS are harmful. In fact, I have found much convincing information and worldwide research studies about GcMAF and the horror of it being derived from a blood product is unfathomable. The company states that it’s scientists use pristine sterilisation processes and their product is purer than the blood the NHS transfuses into patients on a daily basis. As for MMS, it is apparently chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is also found in: “…mouthwashes, toothpastes, mouth sprays and as a preservative in eye drops. Citric acid is a naturally occurring, weak organic acid found in a large variety of fruits and vegetables, most notably citrus fruits – lemons and limes. The citric acid in Tristel’s products is used for the acidification of sodium chlorite to generate chlorine dioxide.” http://www.tristel.com/products/healthcare/about-chlorine-dioxide/
The question that remains therefore is whether the concentration being used in MMS is safe (I understand it is used highly diluted before use) and whether it is being used safely. So far, many claims are being made about how dangerous it is, but I have not seen any evidence that this is the case. I am waiting to be convinced, so convince me. The mainstream has been known to be untrustworthy in preventing simple remedies being available to the public in favour of pharmaceuticals, which are a money spinner of course, a whole industry is built upon them.
Autistic campaigners against both products don’t appear to have fully researched the products and yet are making wild accusations against them and condemning people who use them in good faith. Apparently reports have also been made to the authorities on these people. Knowing how professionals like social services can often misunderstand and misrepresent autism families, causing immense stress – including to the autistic children, to take such actions without being 100% sure of your facts is very serious and potentially grossly unfair.
Do autistic campaigners who are highly vocal, angry, militant and strident help autistic causes? Not if they are blinded by their personal views on autism as a condition and resulting emotions. Not if they are making themselves unpopular with the very mainstream we need to support us. You don’t get people to listen by being angry and even less so if you are campaigning based on misinformation. Who will take us seriously then? We will be seen as trouble-makers. Do we want these people representing us? We are struggling to get our voices heard as it is, do we want the only voices to come from above the parapet with erroneous claims that may not be based in fact and are based on their own prejudices and ignorance?
I say we need to be questioning, open-minded, check our facts, listen to all sides and speak with a strong, firm voice based on truths. Only then will mainstream organisations be more prepared to listen (or have a harder time saying why not) and will we gain the respect we deserve when we stand on our soap boxes.