Category Archives: Sympathy
Dear Students of University of Michigan,
My name is Alexandria Spicer-McQueen and I am a fellow student here at the university. During Fall 2011 semester I enrolled in English 416: topics in disability cultures autism, culture, & representation, and in this class I learned so much about Autism Spectrum Disorder to say the least. We learned many different things from terministic screens to “curing” autism. Through this class I learned more about how everyone in this world is different, whether white or black “normal” or not “normal,” whether you are able-bodied or not, whatever the case is people are different and that shouldn’t be an excuse to ridicule, dislike someone or even treat them different.
The different things I learned about this disorder were fascinating. A lot of people are misinformed about autism and this class opened my eyes and see that I was one of those people that knew nothing about autism besides that it was a disorder that affected the brains of children and prevented them from learning and communicating. Boy was I wrong. I’ve learned that even if a child has autism doesn’t mean they’re mute to the world, and it doesn’t mean that they will never learn or communicate. I didn’t know this at all. Another thing I learned to pay attention to during this class was that children grow up. I never thought about adults with autism and now I do because my friend’s little brother has PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder—Not Otherwise Specified), and I’ve always been curious about his disorder and how it will affect him when he grows older. The questions I have no answer to many people don’t as well and this class made me want to know more because I don’t think a lot of people like the unknown.
The final project for this class was to make a PSA and I chose to focus my PSA towards the student body because as college students there is so much that we do everyday we don’t really get to do anything outside of class work in the context of learning about new things own our own leisure. So I made up a student group named after my business and WordPress blog Black Circus, and made some events up to inform and educate students on Autism Spectrum Disorder. My goals for this sort of PSA is to get students to become involved in the cause and be aware of the things in this world because no one knows if their future child or children will have autism, so this is a way to become prepared to face that chance.
The one thing I learned about autism while doing my PSA was how easy it is to put together something like this and share it. All one has to do is put it out there and be committed and with my PSA I bring different options of learning about autism that I feel is very affective. I bring forth two informationals and movie nights and an interactive learning trip with a school for autistic students. All these events bring forth something different so my audience can participate and stay active and smile the whole way through these events.
Thank you for listening to what I had to say and I encourage you to come to these events and become aware of autism.
“Under the deficit model, autistic people are portrayed as broken humans who are ill and require fixing to enable them to function normally in society. In contrast, non-autistic people are viewed as neurologically healthy and psychologically well.”– Scott Michael Robertson
As much as we talk about autism and see autism in our lives whether all the time or not, I’ve never actually thought about how I only thought about kids having autism. I guess when I seen a child with autism, I forgot that one day they will grow up and be adults one day. It’s actually kind of bizarre how I never think of this when encountering someone with autism. Indirectly, I was infantilizing autism (Jennifer L. Stevenson).
I can’t believe I actually forgot that kids grow up with autism. I guess I’m so blinded by my sympathy that I just forget the fact that some of the autistic kids may grow up and actually go to college one day. Since I’m new to autism, I’m just learning about low functioning autism (LFA) and high functioning autism (HFA).
Take a look at this video:
What are your first reactions and thoughts to this video? Did you notice how no one heard the woman answering their questions until the end? I noticed the lady wasn’t being heard. I started thinking about how she was answering the questions from experience. I also noticed that the people didn’t want to hear her. It reflects the position of autistic adults in the autism spectrum. They go unheard and people put them on the back burner. In my opinion, that has got to STOP!
Ok so take a look at this, though you may have seen it before, I got it from a reading my professor gave our class called, “Neurodiversity, Quality Of Life, And Autistic Adults: Shifting Research And Professional Focuses Onto Real-Life Challenges:”
“Autistic people are viewed under the neurodiversity model as individuals who possess a blend of cognitive strengths and weaknesses in the following core domains:
- Language, Communication, and Social Interaction
- Sensory Processing (environmental input)
- Motor Skill Execution (environmental output)
Goal-oriented and Reflexive Thinking, Planning, and Self-Regulation.” (Robertson)
Whereas “the deficit model portrays autistic people as ill, broken, and in need of fixing” (Robertson). In class we were talking about sympathy and pity and how sympathy goes with the first model and pity goes with the second model. We talked about how these “poster kids” stand as the face of autism because organizations like Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, etc. targets a specific audience for example parents because it invokes a sense of parenting and sympathy from not only parents but other like myself. Also, we talked about how with children, we think about innocence and sympathy comes into play ad with adults we think that there’s something wrong with them and they’re weird. This contrast was very interesting to me because we are so quick to judge adults but children we give the benefit of the doubt.
So with all this being said and recognized, why aren’t autistic adults incorporated more into the publicity, for lack of a better word right now? I believe it would give people more a different view and perspective on autism if they seen, I’m sure, the many adults that live on their own, going to college, have jobs, LFA or HFA, etc. Think of the impact it could have if people remember the adults…
I think that is all I want to say, but if not.. I’ll be back!
I love this little guy!