[Female readers: I apologize in advance any offense 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 see being female the way many people see being autistic: Feminine Spectrum Disorder (FSD) sufferers have a distracting obsession with social interaction, an unhealthy desire to gossip and an encyclopedic memory for all the bad things that were done to them. They also have difficulty communicating, often speaking in contradictions and throwing temper tantrums at their poor caretakers. Experts recommend that they receive behavioral training as early as possible to stop their undesirable behaviors while keeping them focused on their career development, winning competitions and striving for material success.
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 are often portrayed in inspiring videos to show how they have managed to find employment and accomplish equality despite FSD. In fact, 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 feminine, and they want everyone to call them as females rather than as 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, and want the world to stop calling femininity a disorder.
The medical model of autism has influenced people to see autism as a disease, for which a cure must exist (perhaps in the form of a convenient capsule or injection). Unfortunately, the mainstream experts cannot do anything about the root issues of autism, so it is inevitable that people have to resort to pseudoscientific and untested approaches.
If we had started with a neurodiversity model, then we will be doing something different from the behavioral, drug-based and nutrition-focused approaches used today. In this alternate universe, autistics are the respected experts providing the autism services that use neurological, cognitive and experiential approaches.
Many parents believe that they have found a cure for autism because their child stopped giving behavioral problems or started to socialize 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 behavior. This is by no means a cure for autism, but just solving other compounding issues.
• Fixing hidden illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, and bodily pain
• Reducing the amount of stress
• Paying extra attention to the child
Using the metaphor of FSD, if females are given supplements to fix their mineral deficiencies, they experience greatly reduced menstrual pain. The resulting better daily functioning and diminished mood swings are not evidence of a cure for mensuration or femininity.
Behavioral approaches certainly work to reduce problem behaviors and promote desired behaviors. Other than the ethical questions of treating the child like an animal, does a change of behavior 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 behaviors once the repressing pressure is removed. Children who only know how to follow scripts and rules will also struggle to handle novel situations.
This is because the behavior 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 behavior. [However, if autistic children have their compounding problems fixed and are encouraged to interact with people, they might switch 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 so that they won’t feel lonely by themselves.
Ever wonder why so many autistic advocates are upset about how society portrays autism? Now we know.