[Female readers: I apologise in advance for any offence caused. This article is not meant to degrade women but to make a point about how NeuroTypical people are degrading autistics while believing that they are helping autistics.]
Imagine if we use the same way of describing autistic people to describe female people:
Feminine Spectrum Disorder (FSD) sufferers have a distracting obsession with social interaction, an unhealthy desire to gossip and an encyclopaedic memory for all the injustices they have suffered.
They also have difficulty with communication and emotional regulation, often assuming that everyone knows why they were upset without providing any explanation and throwing temper tantrums at their caregivers.
Experts recommend that they receive behavioural training as early as possible to wean them off their disruptive social behaviours so that they can focus on winning competitions and striving for material successes like everyone else.
Adults with FSDs tend to suffer from a co-morbid called Menstruation Bleeding Disorder (MBD), which requires them to buy diapers to mask their socially unacceptable bleeding and take psychiatric medication to moderate extreme mood swings. Many of them claim that a special diet of chocolates helps, but there remains insufficient evidence to recommend this as a therapy.
Mainstream society tolerates their special needs because they are the only people capable of making babies but otherwise thinks poorly of them. Sufferers often appear in inspiring videos to show how they have managed to find employment and achieve equality despite FSD. Many sufferers want to cure themselves permanently using Sexual Reassignment Surgery, sacrificing their special gift of making babies.
Some people on the Feminine Spectrum decided to stand up and declare that they are proud to be female, and they want everyone to call them females rather than people with FSD. They create a concept called masculinity to define the rest of society that is oppressing them, noting that the experts on FSD are all masculine. Such experts do not understand what it is like to female and therefore are not qualified to speak for them. They believe that female experts should be the ones working with them.
Most importantly, they proclaim that there is nothing wrong with them. They demand that the world to stop calling femininity a disorder and accept them as who they are.
The medical model of autism has influenced people to see autism as a disease, for which a cure must exist. Unfortunately, the mainstream experts cannot do anything about the root issues of autism, so desperate caregivers must inevitably resort to pseudoscientific and untested approaches.
If we had started with a neurodiversity model, then we will be doing something different from the behavioural and biomedical-focused approaches used today. In this alternate universe, autistics are the respected experts providing autism services that use neurological, cognitive and experiential approaches.
Many caregivers believe that they have found a “cure” for autism because their child stopped giving behavioural problems or started to socialise better after the intervention. To avoid becoming a victim of quackery, there is a need to understand that the following can help autistics feel better and think more clearly, resulting in improved behaviour. These do not cure autism but solved other compounding issues.
• Dealing with hidden illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, and bodily pain
• Reducing the amount of stress experienced
• Paying extra attention and effort
Using the metaphor of FSD, if females take nutritional supplements to fix mineral deficiencies, they can experience reduced menstrual pain. The resulting better daily functioning and diminished mood swings are not evidence of a cure for mensuration or femininity.
Behavioural approaches certainly work to reduce problem behaviours and promote desired behaviours. Other than the ethical questions of treating the child like an animal, does a change of behaviour convert the child from autistic to NeuroTypical neurology, or it is just forcing the child to pretend to be NeuroTypical? If so, then the child can “regress” back to his original behaviours once the repressive pressure stops. Children who only know how to follow scripts and rules will also struggle to deal with novel situations.
This is because the behaviour is not the cause but the result of our brain’s functioning or environmental factors, which need to be addressed to effect a permanent change of behaviour.
[However, if autistic children have their compounding problems fixed and are encouraged to interact with people, they might switch to NeuroTypical functioning during the critical developmental window where the brain is highly plastic.]
Using the metaphor of FSD, it is as if female children are trained from a young age to behave like males so that they will grow up to be males – wearing male clothing, playing with male toys, participating in male games. Initially, they were all trained in special needs schools specially equipped to convert them, but our more enlightened society decides to be “inclusive” by getting them to participate in mixed-gender schools with real boys.
Ever wonder why so many autistic advocates are upset about how society portrays autism? The time has come to truly accept autism.