Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Autism Social Stigmas

What is a Social Stigma?



A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person: "the stigma of mental disorder".

There is a definite social stigma about Autism. Which is unfortunate as it is very hurtful to people on the Autism Spectrum. We are people. We have feelings. We deserve respect and to be understood. We are all different, even though we identify as being on the Spectrum. It does not mean we are all the same. We are diverse within the Spectrum. We are often misunderstood, feared, hated, bullied, and even killed because we are different and those that have the advantage cannot or will not use their empathy to understand us. They want us to fit into their world and live their way. Thankfully this is very, very slowly changing, through various Autistic adult Advocates, through blogging, through Facebook groups and pages, but it is not enough. The social stigma of Autism is rampant throughout society and the media. Each time another Autistic adult is told to fit in or is misdiagnosed this attitude is encouraged and grows. Each time an Autistic child is killed (sometimes at the hands of their parents), this attitude is encouraged, grows and spreads. You get the idea. For every bit of work the ASD Advocates, bloggers, and Facebook pages do, the media and people ignorant about ASD will often counteract it with their views. Social media has become a fantastic platform for Autistic Adults to tell their stories, to try to get their voices heard over the roaring din of the Neurotypical world. Hopefully in time our voices will get louder and louder.

We need to work together to create a Neurodiverse world. A world which allows Autistics to focus on their strengths and live in a way which suits them. The world is unfortunately not suited for Autistic people. This can lead to numerous things, depression, anxiety, stress, Autistic burnout, self-harm, self-hate, suicide which is because we are feared, misunderstood and feel we are broken/defective. It is a vicious cycle, that is not easily broken. I do not have the answers. I can only share my story, my thoughts on the subject and raise awareness by being a self-Advocate. I hope in time we can say the world is finally Autism friendly and we can live in peace without fear of being bullied, feared, misunderstood or killed.

Another point which I think is incredibly important is the lack of opportunity and support for Adults on the Spectrum. We are rendered invisible because the media focuses so much on the tragedy of Autism, which feeds parents' fears about having an Autistic child. Autistic Adults are left entirely out of having a say in the media. Which is unfair and not reality. We are not invisible, we are here to stay and we have a voice.
Overall this is about Ableism, how subtle it is in our society and how it affects disabled people.

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You don't have to agree with all that I am writing about, however please refrain from name-calling, belittling, and bullying. That will not be tolerated here. Thank you.