21 December 2012

Compassionate conservatism is dead.

Ya know, Cons are just mean. Plain old mean. Vic Toews is cancelling the pizza parties that prisoners in federal prisons sometimes get. Oh, I know, they're in prison, they don't get treats. But you know what? They pay for those. With the $25/mo they make. And furthermore, they get them when they've raised enough money for charity.

" These food drive nights also doubled as fundraisers for local charities and relief efforts such as Doctors Without Borders and victims of hurricanes and earthquakes."

Seriously Vic? This is social behaviour. This is accountability. This is giving back. This is making amends. Do you really want prisoners angry, all the time. This gives them something useful to do, something to live for, something to look forward to. That you would take this from them, something that doesn't even cost the taxpayer a single cent? That's just mean. Cruel. What kind of a human could you be to do this?

17 December 2012

Neurodiversity. Again.

Okay, screw hiatus. I'm just going to maintain two blogs. Somehow.

I want to talk about Neurodiversity again, now that I've had Son-Rise training and my outlook is a lot different. I was unfollowed by someone I've known online for years (although, I almost think she forgot that she knows me on LJ too, because she hasn't unfriended me there). Anyway, this happened because of a disagreement, or even a perceived disagreement about autism, autism treatment and the desire for a cure. I was asking questions, and before I knew it, BLOCKED. How dare I try to understand?! Oh well. I understand that she's probably dealt with a number of people whose questions weren't quite so non-judgmental, so I'll give her a pass on it, but unless someone lets her know, I guess I'm shit out of luck.

Here's the neurodiversity argument as I understand it:
I have autism. I like me for who I am, and don't want to change. I believe that curing autism will change me, so I don't want a cure. I do however want treatment, on my terms. I believe that autism causes great minds, so I don't want prevention of it either.

Things I don't understand: 
What is their definition of treatment? If a treatment is so effective, that all the symptoms of it are gone, how is that person still autistic? Because their brain is wired differently? But if all the symptoms are gone, and no further treatment is needed... that's a cure. That's kind of the definition of it.

Why do they believe that great minds are created out of autism, not that autism is a side point? Surely there have been many great non-autistic minds. And furthermore, great art has come out of cancer. No cure for that either? (YES, I know, they're not the same. They're not even in the same class. I am not making them equivalent)

If someone doesn't want treatment, and they are of the age to make such a decision, why would they be against someone else getting it? I'm not in favour of the surgery required to fix my son's brain abnormality, because it's not serious enough to cause him issues. But I'm not opposed to someone else getting it. Why are they?

What I believe they don't understand:
You not wanting to change who you are is completely okay with me and completely okay with everyone I know who is advocating for a cure and prevention. We are not saying there is anything *wrong* with you. We're saying you the same as you are - that autistic people need help, need support, need understanding. Our idea of help is effective treatment, which is what we call "cure". Fixing the symptoms. Our idea of support is money for treatment, suitable schools and suitable jobs, money for living when there are no suitable jobs, counselling and therapy SHOULD YOU WANT IT. No one is forcing anything on any adult. As parents of kids, yes, we get to decide what is best for them. Like any parent, of any kid, with any issue. And understanding, well, that's listening, being okay with your autism symptoms, and just loving you for who you are right this moment.

I love my kids. I love them exactly the way they are. Today. Right now. And I want to help them live full, happy, productive lives. Just like every other Mom out there. And to do that, I work with them to help them embrace the world. I have to work harder at it because they're autistic, but really, again, this is no different from every other parent. So you're right if you think I'm angry about your attempts to undermine "cure charities". Because those charities are looking for ways to help my kids. I have a son who can't talk, can't communicate meaningfully, can't use the toilet himself, can't eat by himself, can't go to school, can't cross a street, can't have friends (that's the one that I think is most important). If I use a system like Son-Rise that uses the neuroplasticity of the brain to rewire it, so to speak, so that he can do all these things, he will be able to have all the things the neurodiversity people already have. Every time I see one of these people arguing against a cure, i.e. a treatment that works, they're someone who *can* argue for it. These are people who have friends, meaningful relationships, jobs, skills, life partners, pets.  And they would like to prevent me from doing that?! From giving that to my son?

Not just no, hell no.

Guns, mental health, autism and tragedy

Just a quick little note on the massacre in Connecticut. I do not think this was a feminist issue. A few people have been quick to point out that the shooter killed more female people than male. However, it was an elementary school, and women are disproportionately represented in that community. Also, he killed the kids indiscriminately. So no, I do not think this is a feminist issue. This? This is a human issue.

Human. That's right. Human. Not "monster". I am so very against dehumanizing criminals, because it really prevents us from treating them, rehabilitating them, but more importantly, from preventing them from becoming criminal. This man? I don't know. I don't know his history. I've heard everything from schizophrenic to psychopathic to Aspergers (more below). But I don't know, and neither do you. What I know is that this man got so disturbed, so miserable, so disconnected from his humanity that he killed his parents and a classroom full of children. And that shit needs to never happen again. And we cannot prevent that if we continue to dehumanize people who get to that point.

We also can't do that if we allow weapons like the ones that killed those kids. At the same time as this happened (not the same exact time, but within a day or so), a man in China lost his shit and went into a classroom full of kids and stabbed 22 of them with a knife. None died. Guns did this. If people think that a few dead kids are worth their 2nd amendment rights, well, then I'd say they're the problem. A damn big part of it. Every time someone is murdered with a gun, it should be on the heads of the people who continue to make those weapons available. The ONLY point of these weapons is to kill. That's what makes them different from knives, cars, ropes, all these other things that can kill. The only exception I'd make is for hunting rifles and shotguns. And those should damn well be registered. Like cars. And licensed. Like driving.

And can we please please stop with the talk about this guy being autistic? Please? Because it's no more relevant than the colour of his hair, the length of his eyebrows, or the number of moles on his back. There is NO connection between planned violence and autism. None. Nada. Not even in the 'they've been stigmatized more, and so they're more prone to snap' type. NOT EVEN THERE. So knock that shit off.

And finally, can we please stop stigmatizing the mentally ill. Most do not commit these kinds of crimes. Most are not dangerous. Most know the difference between right and wrong. And they need to be able to have the confidence to go get help when they need it without worrying that their friends, neighbours and coworkers will be afraid of them should they find out that they're mentally ill.

There. I feel better. Time for a nap. :)