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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Disempowerment 1 [S-series 6]

I have to thank my friend Raymond van Es for his excellent
up to date information and sharp insight.
Not to mention his hospitality.
June 28:  Hmm... and his corrections for this post...  :\
it made me remove panopticism from this chapter :)

I remember…. how afraid I was of doing what was right, of raising my child the way I saw fit. My view point was correct, it is proven now, after years of misdiagnoses and false accusations from parties that called themselves authorities.
But I didn’t dare to act right, preferred doing what was wrong just to avoid the sanction that the same authorities were threatening with. Because the sanction would be even worse: I’d lose total control, not even a chance to correct or smooth the mistakes I was forced to make in caring for my child.

Systematic, Unfair, Negative Feedback ...
It is frightening to face an opponent who grants itself unconditional power to manipulate you. Not based on facts but on its own ideas, even on the fantasies of its own representatives. It rips your sense of security apart to hear that opponent ridicule your way of thinking, devalue your vision of life based on… its own lack of insight, lack of respect , its self proclaimed ‘infallibility’.
It disempowers you when all your actions are given a negative connotation. To have the opponent declare its own untruth as honest, while your truth telling is called manipulative dishonest behavior. The burden of proof lying on your side.
I only had to appear at its offices, face its representatives every few weeks. I was not isolated, I had a circle of friends who saw things my way… yet I felt watched, feared the phone, couldn’t work with my back turned to the windows facing the street. I could relax a little after five in the afternoon, knowing that the authorities would keep their files closed for the next 16 hours, that I would not be summoned at least until the next day. But during the largest part of the day I felt observed and criticized
So even in its absence the Authoritative System had power over me. I had the feeling I was being watched, being reported and that any kind of result of my own actions would be used against me. Logic nor fairness nor compassion would help me out. These were motives that did not exist in its dictionary.
By taking away a person's ability to do what feels right to him, you disintegrate his personality.

... and Autism
Science to me is merely a temporary conclusion, based on biased observations and assumptions. Take the theory of mind tests for instance...
Sally puts her marble into her basket. When she leaves the room, Anne stealthily takes that marble out and puts it in her box. Where will Sally look for her marble, when she's back in the room? 80% of young autistic children will answer “in Anne's box”.
Did the one who subjected young autistic children to the Sally and Anne test and made his far reaching conclusions, have any 'theory of natural variation in minds' ?? It is believed by many that autism is primarily a “social disease”: a defect in the ability of the autistic person to feel for someone else. The theory of mind test has helped to anchor this idea in the mind of the vast majority of people.
I believe autism is mainly a neurological disorder, causing the autistic person to experience the world, including social interactions, differently from “neuro-typical” [= normal] people. Seeing more than others do, experiencing touch or smells more intensely, makes the world a different place, Makes simple things, like -for example-  shaking hands with all the guests at a party, an unpleasant and tough job instead of a pleasantry. I hate shaking hands with strangers and I'm sure I'm not unable to feel for others. 

Since neurotypical persons do not understand the response of an autistic person, they give negative feedback to the autistic  person -who is in fact responding in a logical fashion to his different sensory perception-.   So the autistic person runs into unfair criticism... receiving negative feedback on his spontaneous, creative and probably socially inclined actions. Confusing, scary, painful... Since the autistic person is running into this kind of negative feedback from the majority, the neurotypicals, he is experiencing unfair negative feedback almost systematically. Concluding from what was written in the first paragraphs 'our' autistic person is prone to have problems in developing his personality and social skills. Not due to his neurological state, but due to the feedback 'normal' people tend to give him. No wonder that non-directive therapies like Son Rise are so successful, these therapies rely on giving positive feedback, unconditionally. Giving the autistic person a chance to gain self confidence in social situations. 

        Isn't that striking... the situation, described at the beginning of this post, about constant negative reporting, unfair sanctions, the lack of respect and compassion, being forced to act contrary to what you feel is right*.... This is the world of the autistic child [and adult]. Can you blame him for losing interest or belief in others? For not liking social conduct, since the word social is not aimed at him? For withdrawing, avoiding a world full of painful experiences?       


       Here's a very sharp review of someone who is diagnosed as autistic, but very capable of making good conversation... telling us what someone with Asperger [high functioning autism] thinks of the theory of mind tests and the dangerous [mis]interpretations of the results: Journeys with autism: a critique of the theory of mind test

Autism, like Sensory Processing Disorder, is not about disturbed, undeveloped, feelings towards others. It is about differences in receiving and combining sensory information.

It is the negative feedback of those who can't accept that their way is not the only right way, that turns disorders like these into psychological disorders. If those who do not understand are the leading group. And since the 'neurotypicals' are in the majority... they lead.



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