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  1. #1

    Default Adult Autism. Why don't we hear much about this?

    http://www.jonathans-stories.com/non...invisible.html
    Jonathan Mitchell is an adult with mild autism. He writes about his experiences above.

    Why is it that we hear so little about autistic adults?

    Is it because they've become indistinguishable from their peers?
    Is it because we've given up on them, and don't believe we can help them further?
    Is it because the adult problems, like lacking physical intimacy, are too uncomfortable to talk about?
    Is it because they've gone from "cute little kids", to "creepy old people"?
    Is it because years of trying to force them to conform have left us frustrated?
    I'm being facetious of course, but I personally identified with his writing, and I wonder if some people don't actually feel this way about adult autistic behavior.

  2. #2
    Temporal Mechanic. Lexicon's Avatar
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    This was a pretty interesting documentary about a [highly successful] severely autistic woman.
    03/23 06:06:58 EcK: lex
    03/23 06:06:59 EcK: lex
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    03/23 06:21:53 Nancynobullets: We summon yooouuu
    03/23 06:29:07 Lexicon: I was sleeping!



    04/25 04:20:35 Patches: Don't listen to lex. She wants to birth a litter of kittens. She doesnt get to decide whats creepy

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    I'd say it's the first one. The autistic adults who don't fit under neat categories such as "completely dependent manchild" or "unemotional genius" don't garner much attention from the media.

    Having read a bit about ableism, I could also suggest that a lot of media narratives concerning autistic people focus on "how hard it is" to be a caretaker for them, rather than their own voices and experiences. It's been observed that parents who kill their children are treated much more sypathetically when the children in question are autistic...
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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    My husband is probably an adult with autism. He was not diagnosed as a child because in the 1970s the diagnostic criteria were so narrow that if you could speak and had near-normal intelligence (or higher than average as in his case and in many cases) you were assumed to be normal. He doesn't have an official diagnosis even now that the criteria have widened to most likely include him, because there's nothing to be gained in seeking one, at the age of 40, after a lifetime of having learned to recognize social cues by trial and error and rote memorization, and having built in his own social safety nets (like a wife who has, if anything, the opposite social problem- crippling self-consciousness). He was told by the team of psychiatrists at TEACCH who diagnosed our son (3 years old at the time), that he probably met the criteria himself. This was based on their observations of his manner, and the number of times they would ask about a behavior our son exhibited, and Noah would answer "Yes, he does that, but I did it when I was a kid, too." We were pretty floored when they brought it up, actually. They said he could come in for an assessment if it was important to him or if he thought it would be helpful in some way (e.g. to help explain unusual behavior to an employer). He decided not to pursue diagnosis at the time but we've gone forward with the knowledge that it probably applies to him.

    I think Viridian is correct about the neat categories being an easier "sell" for stories about autistic adults. Besides, who wants to be part of a story about autistic adults if they are basically functioning, married, employed, etc? I can guarantee Noah wouldn't want to be reported on if the tenor of the report was "look at this brave autistic guy, overcoming obstacles! *weepy violins*"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    My husband is probably an adult with autism. He was not diagnosed as a child because in the 1970s the diagnostic criteria were so narrow that if you could speak and had near-normal intelligence (or higher than average as in his case and in many cases) you were assumed to be normal. He doesn't have an official diagnosis even now that the criteria have widened to most likely include him, because there's nothing to be gained in seeking one, at the age of 40, after a lifetime of having learned to recognize social cues by trial and error and rote memorization, and having built in his own social safety nets (like a wife who has, if anything, the opposite social problem- crippling self-consciousness). He was told by the team of psychiatrists at TEACCH who diagnosed our son (3 years old at the time), that he probably met the criteria himself. This was based on their observations of his manner, and the number of times they would ask about a behavior our son exhibited, and Noah would answer "Yes, he does that, but I did it when I was a kid, too." We were pretty floored when they brought it up, actually. They said he could come in for an assessment if it was important to him or if he thought it would be helpful in some way (e.g. to help explain unusual behavior to an employer). He decided not to pursue diagnosis at the time but we've gone forward with the knowledge that it probably applies to him.

    I think Viridian is correct about the neat categories being an easier "sell" for stories about autistic adults. Besides, who wants to be part of a story about autistic adults if they are basically functioning, married, employed, etc? I can guarantee Noah wouldn't want to be reported on if the tenor of the report was "look at this brave autistic guy, overcoming obstacles! *weepy violins*"
    Thanks for sharing, Ivy!

    Yeah, there's even a word for this, usually applied to people with disabilities: "inspiration porn".
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    Paranoid Android Video's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    Having read a bit about ableism, I could also suggest that a lot of media narratives concerning autistic people focus on "how hard it is" to be a caretaker for them, rather than their own voices and experiences.
    This is true for many, many mental/neurological conditions. One reason I have heard for not listening to an autistic person is that the very nature of autism is a cutting off from life's social fabric, so their insights about life and humanity cannot be true to interpersonal reality. To which I say, careful. Lack of self-awareness is one of the most powerful claims that can be made over a person, and too many people make it without thinking hard about that power first.
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    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webslinger View Post
    This is true for many, many mental/neurological conditions. One reason I have heard for not listening to an autistic person is that the very nature of autism is a cutting off from life's social fabric, so their insights about life and humanity cannot be true to interpersonal reality. To which I say, careful. Lack of self-awareness is one of the most powerful claims that can be made over a person, and too many people make it without thinking hard about that power first.
    Like I've once heard: neurotypical privilege is not having to come up with examples of people of your neurotype who helped mankind in order to be treated like a human being worthy of respect. :/
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    a scream in a vortex nanook's Avatar
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    perhapz iz becuz adultz autists too smart to fucking mention theirs condition in front of fucking retardez neurotycialz like what the fuck matterz what da neurotypicalz thinks, as if they'd evar understanz something, juzt becuz u'd explain it to them a 1000sand timez. howevarz, if you fucking cares to hearz what tis fucking idiot haz to say, herez my take on it.

    thank u, you are perfect, neurotypicalz or not, itz not like u had a choice or sumthingz, itz just who u arez, so enjoy da SELF.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I think because the ones that are able to function independently mostly just want to be left alone to do their thing. They generally don't want to be thought of and don't think of themselves as being disabled, but rather that they are surrounded by irrational idiots. So they just go about their business the best they can like everybody else, doing well at some things and badly at others like everybody else, but in their own way. If they talk about autistic stuff, it's usually with other autistics or friends/family who make them feel accepted.

    Those that can't function independently are considered beyond help and are no longer cute little kids, so they aren't appealing.
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    Senior Member Entropic's Avatar
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    Ultimately, the real question you ought to ask yourself is, why would you actually focus on describing adults with autism as if they are in fact different from other people, especially if they are fully capable of managing on their own? By even suggesting the very idea itself you put them in the "other" category by definition and create an exclusiveness. Like @Ivy said, why would her husband care? He shouldn't. I mean, there are times when I personally wonder if I'm autistic (overlap with 5-ness), but meh, I function too, so why bother?

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