I grew up in a Nuerotypical world. I was given a few more chances in certain areas but for the most part if I did something socially unacceptable, I was held accountable. Not to make me more nuerotypical but to make me more able to handle this vast society we live in that has many rules one must go by in order to obtain some level of success in life.
Then I decided to travel down the path I am on now. One that has lead me to enter the thoughts and opinions of others that share the same thing as me, that being on the Autism Spectrum. Nearly a year ago, I started being a part of numerous social media groups full of individuals with Autism. For a while there, I was shocked by this new culture that I had been a part of but now just entered. I was shocked mainly by all the negativity by what it seemed to be the majority of individuals in this culture. Some of them shared some of what I had gone through, but by more who had vastly different experiences than me. A lot of them have the right to be angry, due to personal experiences dealt with during their lifetime. However there are some, who appear to be higher function (that they do not need care around the clock) that are just angry.
These groups say they are for support, but mainly it seems that the only support you will end up getting is attacked for having a view that does not follow the us vs. them mentality against Nuerotypicals or even a parent ranting about their child to others who might feel how they feel some times. An example of the before, would be like today, when a question was posted about what people thought about the symbol of the Autism puzzle piece. For the record, a good amount of individuals on the Spectrum are disgusted by the symbol. The reasoning is that many think that the puzzle piece was created to mean that something was missing from us on the Spectrum. Which is plausible knowing some of the history of how people with Autism have been viewed, but I have not come across any definite source for this, just hearsay. Well if you know me, I got a Autism Puzzle Piece tattoo on my back when I was younger to help me socialize more in college with random people. I did not know of this speculation until recently, but I still really like it and what it means to me. I posted my thoughts about the topic, not thinking it would be controversial when I posted. I was wrong, someone shortly after baited me by saying a definite statement that all people on the Spectrum despise the puzzle piece. I asked why and got bombarded by links to why its wrong and that society should accept the neurodiversity symbol, which is that rainbow colored infinity symbol on the main page of this site. I tried to debate that the puzzle piece already is universally recognized as the symbol of Autism and that no matter why it was made, we can make our own reasoning's for it. Like many other times, I also stated that no one outside of these message boards knew what the nuerodiversity symbol was. Well shortly after I asked the reasoning for a change, the post got deleted. For reasons, I do not know. The latter situation happened once when a parent simply posted that she hated Autism. She was immediately berated for this statement by comments like "oh you hate your child, your a horrible person". Really, a parent was going through a really tough period with her kid and that is how you react? I know for sure I hate Autism sometimes, does it mean that I hate myself, no, it just means I get frustrated with a certain part of myself, which everyone feels at times during their lives.
This comes from a group of people who demand acceptance before awareness of their disorder, but even the most dedicated advocates do not truly understand some of the issues that come from the other side when it comes to interactions with individuals with Autism. These people also want to be called Autistic, like that it the one thing that defines them and their whole life. These people truly adopted the us vs. them mentality, that if your Autistic you could never know what we're going through but will not dialogue about how the real world operates and the expectations of the real world, which requires every person to change and confirm a little bit. This group also uses the statement "Nothing for us, without us", trying to push away well intended people from helping them, but do not go out of their rooms to the real world to solve the issues they want changed.
For the most part you can say I am not a popular voice for many in these message boards because I chose to navigate the world as a person first and thus understand there are rarely any black and white situations in life and can contemplate both sides of the table as feasible opinions and thoughts. I still have times when I get this angry about things, but I have come to learn it is okay to be mad sometimes but after that I need to analyze the whole situation to grasp what happened and where I stayed on the track too long.
I decided to write about this because I think it is necessary to see a different side of things that some of you reading this might not know about these interactions within this subculture. Which happens in every subculture I have been accepted into in my brief life.
There is a major division between many on the Spectrum and the rest of society that I hope I can help bring closer together in my life.
Life is not meant to be easy, because if it was not, how fun would that be.
I have been seeing this word come up lately when it comes to posts about children with Autism. These posts manly come from individuals on the Spectrum. They say compliance training should not be done on this population. That it completely takes away their right to say no. These individuals are usually ones that harbor sour feelings towards a society and world that does not understand them and one they have yet to try to understand.
Before I get into this I am someone who growing up learned the hard way of this word, and my compliance now is based off numerous interactions with authority figures who both were right and who were wrong. To me growing up, compliance was based off of who was right, not what an authority figure said for me to do. This thinking not only got me in trouble a lot of the times but it made me realize the harsh truth of compliance.
The harsh truth is that everybody has to comply to a certain degree or they end up in jail/prison or worse. Whether or not what you think is right or just. Authority figures do not want you to comply just because they say so, but because ultimately it is in their minds what is best for you and what will most likely be what is safest as well. This is not to say to completely comply with everything that an authority figure tells you, but to know that in a messed up world we live in that sometimes it does not matter if something else is right than what you are told.
Compliance is necessary part of learning. If you want to grow as a person, it is necessary. You can not learn of when to comply versus when not to if you never learn to comply in the first place.
Probably over ninety percent of people have had compliance training as a kid, no matter how different you may be from everyone else. If someone wants a degree, they must comply to that institutions rules in order to obtain one. If someone wants a job, they must comply to their bosses wishes. If someone wants to be in a platonic or romantic relationship, they must comply to the wishes of others. If one wants to be free, they must comply to the laws of that land. However, when a person reaches these stages in life, they usually have also been taught when it is not okay to just comply to an authority figures wishes.
Telling people to not have compliance training to an ever growing population will, in the end, ruin so many lives. I was very lucky to be born with the privilege I was born with or else I might not be here today to write about my thoughts and experiences to you all, people reading this, looking to learn more about Autism.
Do I think there are people on the Spectrum not capable of learning the second aspect of compliance? I sure do, but with how the world likes to categorize whose life means more in this world based on numerous option-less charecteristics , I see compliance as a way to keep this population away from harm as much as possible with the people who do understand the second aspect to work on making the world a better and safer place for everyone.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum