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Archive for September, 2011

Activity & Discussion

Part 1:

– False interpretation of Autism is in the real world. They’re using these filters to validate their points instead of using reality to prove their points. They use the two extremes of extreme autism and normality to back their theses. Because they aren’t advocating for the middle we cannot truly understand. We can only comprehend what scholars are telling us, but if they are not accounting for the median, we cannot understand it.

– People are dealing with Autism by “overtreating” it. They are being preemptive about treatment and behavior based on a diagnosis rather than dealing with the behavior as it happens. We should deal with it by trying to inform themselves more. Instead of reading one article and assuming that all others are the same, we should do research and truly understand every side of what Autism means. Each individual with autism is so different, so it is hard to say that each treatment is for everyone.

– A lot of what Chew & Raymaker could be enhanced by the terministic screen theory so after reading Broderick, we can see where a lot of Chew & Raymaker’s controversy stemmed from. We think that if we had read Broderick before Chew & Raymaker we would have maybe taken a different viewpoint.

– Some of the authors are credible because they have positions of power, therefore they are much more educated than the average individual who hasn’t necessarily encountered autism first hand. However, they have been studying the extremes to try to understand the Autism spectrum without interacting with all variations of the Autism spectrum. As a result, their credibility is not as strong as it would be if they had accounted for all types of autism. We think they’re writing to people who have to deal with autism first hand. For example, parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, friends, and people working with individuals with autism.

Part 2:

– Some implications of Burke’s statement are that we cannot attach terms like “normal” or “typical” because there is no definitive definition of normal or typical. Our normal may be different from someone else’s normal, therefore the definition becomes ambiguous. The fictions found in Broderick are terms like “disability,” “disease,” and “epidemic” because Autism is not something that you can catch or relay, it is something that you are born with and effects everyday life. The DSM is much more scientific and doesn’t include stereotypes or stigmas. The DSM is official, however it does have fictions because it doesn’t account for cultural differences.

-Pop culture has coined the term “retarded” as a verb found commonly in everyday language. There is also the movies that have been made in the past 40 years about developmental disabilities and Autism spectrum disorders. Movies like Rain Man or I Am Sam or Forrest Gump exacerbate the perception of Autism. Now, if someone says my friend/child/acquaintance has Autism, the mind immediately jumps to one of those movies because we have been conditioned to that association.

Part 4:

– This organization has used the first person to make an impact. On the top of the website it says “Welcome to the homepage for Autism Network internal, a autistic-run self-help and advocacy organization for autistic people.” The language is very positive and supportive. This organization is not looking for sympathy or pity, but it is meant to empower and encourage others on the Autism spectrum.

– They choose not to define recovery or intervention because they believe that these things do not exist. They want to be able to accept and support autist’s and as autistic people they are not trying to change anyone. They want to be able to encourage growth and independence.

– They assume that people are going to pity them, and they created this organization to prove that they don’t need the pity. The creators of this organization want people to come to their website for “support, to share information and tips for coping and problem-solving.”


– The website itself is very colorful and bright. The Autism puzzle piece, which is the icon for Autism Spectrum is also very colorful and there was a link made to the colors found in both. The website is simple and easy to navigate, accounting for the visitors that may stumble onto this site. The background of the website is very stimulating and sensory oriented to capture their audience.


Reflection, Selection, Deflection

Hi, my name is Jenn Feldman. I live in New York (more specifically Long Island) and I’m always made fun of for my accent. I am a psychology major hoping to have a practice as a psychologist for children with Autism/special needs as well as the families that are affected by the disorder. My goals for this semester are to learn as much as I can about the Autism Spectrum and it’s culture so that when I do start my career I am well versed on what is culturally acceptable and what isn’t. I also want to learn about other points of view rather than the one I’ve been in for a while. I have dealt directly with kids with special needs as their counselor, their dance instructor, and their friend. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to enter their home lives and really help them cope with the hand they’ve been dealt. I am hoping that I can broaden my understanding of the hardships as well as gifts that autism brings to a family.

When talking about any subject in any context, there are only so many viewpoints one can take. As a writer it is important to distinguish which ones are extremely relevant and which ones should be cut. Burke uses this idea of Reflection, Selection and Deflection to describe this idea.All three of these things can alter how you see a topic and it can effect your stance on sed topic.

A view point could reflect a certain topic in a way that you wouldn’t normally view it. The first thing that came to mind when reading Burke’s article was a Circus mirror. It can make certain things bigger and certain things smaller and can really deform the way something is reflected. With autism, there is a lot of talk about the two extremes: severe autism and normality. Learning is very unique in this way because I can only educate myself on what others have studied if I don’t have that personal experience. What if their viewpoints are distorted? What if I am staring at a reflection from a circus mirror and I have no idea that views are distorted? How can I make an educated judgement on these topics?

Selection is also a major tool that scholars and professionals can use to make readers understand their point of view and their point of view only. The selection of the information they use for their journals could be skewed or one-sided. How am I supposed to know that? Unless I encounter every single human being with Autism I cannot make an unbiased judgement call or opinion. I have to accept what these people tell me as my only source of knowledge. If they select case studies from cases of the extreme measures, I cannot account for the median that is not being represented.

I’ve noticed that in the readings we’ve had in this class there have been topics of extremes. For example, I’ve learned about those who are severely autistic and called names like “idiot” and “retard” and “completely incapable” and then I’ve also learned about those who are on the other side of the spectrum who are “sevants” and “incredible human beings.” I have yet to hear about someone in the middle. Classic Autism: stimming, limited attention span, behavioral issues, cognitive problems, lack of focus. All of these things are put to either extreme but none of the readings we’ve had have talked about that grey middle area. The aspect of deflection deals with the same core concepts. The authors deflect from the concept of this middle ground and I’m not really sure why. Is it because there simply isn’t enough research to follow up? Is it because extremes are more interesting to talk and learn about? I’m not really sure what the reason is but I wish there was more to be said for those in the middle who need just as much attention and help as anyone else.

Something About Us… Without Us?

Who can represent the autistic world? Who is representative enough to be a role model for this population? The argument here is whether or not people with Autism should represent the autism culture. Can they handle standing on a stage and talking about what it means to be autistic? Why the hell not?! Does a hearing person stand in front of a bunch of deaf people talking about the discipline it takes to learn sign language and try to associate with people of the hearing nature? Does a seeing person talk to a group of blind people talking about how not being able to see has been either a gift or a curse? How could a typical person possibly know the hardships and simplicities of a life with autism? And if that typical person was told exactly what to say by a person with autism, why not cut out the middleman and have the person writing down the words actually say them out loud.

I guess I can understand both sides. One side of the coin says that someone with Autism is very unpredictable. I’ve worked with this population for a long time and I know how unpredictable some people can get. With the chance of temper tantrums and possible melt downs it could really damage the reputation of a company. Let’s detach the autistic characteristic for a few moments. Let’s try to give this example in a forum that everyone would understand, for example, Steve Jobbs. Despite his current state, he held forums all the time to announce new products, discuss plans for the future, and address his public. Let’s say one day he simply couldn’t go on stage and talk to thousands of people that had looked forward to listening to such a brilliant and legendary idol in our society speak. People would be disappointed and upset with Apple and Steve Jobbs for not holding the conference that was originally promised. Now let’s reintroduce the autistic aspect. If the speaker was autistic and had some reason for not going on stage and representing a company, the company would be at fault for giving this person too much responsibility for them to handle.

And yet another argument as to why a person with autism should not represent a company trying to advocate for autism is that of an uneducated person in my opinion, but you can tell me what you think. Some say that if a person can represent a company well and can understand the responsibility of being a mentor and role model is clearly not representative of the community. They aren’t as low functioning as a person in this population because they are able to publicly speak and hold themselves well therefore, not truly autistic. This is just an absurd statement. I have met people who are on the autism spectrum that are brilliant with words and have serious social problems and doesn’t make them any less autistic than the next person.

These companies are supposed to help people with the autism spectrum. So why not include the people they’re helping in the process? This statement “something about us… without us” is unacceptable. If there are people with autism who want to help others who are worse off than they are or who are even better off, why not let them? Who is it hurting to include them in this experience. Maybe they can improve themselves by helping others. Anyone can improve themselves by helping others.

I was asked to discuss what I wanted to learn while in this course. I want to understand how the autism culture has grown. I want to be able to go back to my job at home and really relate to the parents who are experiencing what their kids are going through. I want to be able to introduce these cultural changes to the adults I work with that maybe they don’t know about. I want to learn everything I can so that I can help others on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities to experience life to the fullest.

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