Tag Archives: language

March 10 Odds and Ends

I do these odds and ends posts on my writing blog every so often, but this is the first for Disorderly Minds. So don’t expect a long ramble on one topic today. I’m not always that organized, cognitively, and there are always bits and pieces of the world floating around that don’t require a great deal of attention.

Such as what I’m currently reading. It’s usually two or three books at a time — one or two nonfiction, and one kick back and relax fiction. Or a reread of a novel I love but haven’t read in quite a while.

The aspie-applicable one I’m digging into right now is Neurotribes. Yes, I know it’s been out for quite some time. I’m always behind (behind a pile of books waiting to be read), and I don’t normally buy books when they’re brand-new. I want to see how well they age, but cost is also a big factor. I’d prefer to own an ebook version of a monster like Neurotribes, but the budget said no way, so I have a nearly-new used print copy. I’m being slowed down a bit by the need to keep shifting my support for this doorstop, in spite of sharing half my lap with a cat. Is that a unique reason or not, for taking longer than normal to get through a book?

The book is well-written, engaging, and does a great job of covering the history of autism. Lots of stuff I didn’t know about, lots to think about. I’m only about 200 pages in so I haven’t hit anything that I vaguely remember some reviewers objecting to.

I’ve been reading a lot of aspie blog posts, and keep running across things that annoy the hell out of me. One of them is the way that too many aspies attribute some of their personal traits to autism when they aren’t. Being on the spectrum doesn’t make you spiritual, or give you a deep relationship with nature, or any other qualities that some people seem to require as ways to distinguish themselves from those “other” people. It’s awfully easy to identify so strongly with autism that you forget you’re human in most ways.

The other thing that’s increasingly pissing me off is the acceptance of medical terminology that frames everything in terms of diagnoses and disabilities. Maybe one of these days I’ll start collecting them and breaking them down into normal language. Just for now, I have to ask if a special interest is a normal interest if it’s pursued by someone not on the spectrum.

Who Has the Right to Define Me?

As an outlier even in what many consider a fringe population, I constantly find myself in opposition to some of the assumptions about autism and Asperger’s–made by people on the spectrum. I refuse to get involved in pointless debates that prove nothing and change nothing, but I won’t back away from presenting ideas that some will see as a kind of betrayal of “our own kind.” As if there is such a thing.

I find it alternately amusing and sad that the very statement thrown at “neurotypicals,” that when you’ve seen one autistic, you’ve seen one autistic, doesn’t really register with members of the spectrum who insist that autism must be an identity and that there is a community which encompasses everyone on the spectrum.

I can’t say at what point in my life it happened, or even whether it happened as an event, or just slowly came to consciousness, but once I felt a solid sense of who I was, I never succumbed to demands to be this or be that. I consider it fortunate that I grew up and found myself long before autism was a household word. That has given me a very different view of the current controversies than are commonly discussed and written about. It will take a while to work my way through the ifs, ands and buts, but there will eventually be a post about this issue.