Tuesday, 8 April 2008

A Little Bit On Autism

I was doing some blog hopping this morning and came across a blog called Alien Adventures.

One of the posts on this blog was entitled Autism Awareness - What's in your fridge?
I can really understand where the writer is coming from on this, being the mum of an autistic son myself, so I've asked her permission to put it on my blog and she very kindly said yes. I hope you get as much from reading this as I did. Her whole blog is fabulous actually, she has a lovely writing style (I've been lost in it for the past hour) and I thoroughly recommend checking it out when you have some time to spare. She does crafting too!

Autism Awareness - What's in your fridge?
I read an article on the Internet today by a young student doctor who happens to be on the Autistic Spectrum. He had an interesting view on the way in which most people make friends actually reinforces the stereotypical views of autism. Many people believe that somebody with Autism doesn't want to interact, that it's actually part of the condition not to want to be involved and to be locked into their own little world.

However, this is a misconception. Many people on the spectrum desperately want to be involved and have friends, but have difficulty in knowing the rules that make such friendships possible. They are not skilled in the social necessities of friendship and as such tend not to be at the top of the lists of others when picking friends.

The way most people interact with others is like how I interact with the food in my fridge. I will typically buy all kinds of food I think about eating. In time, some food gets consumed more often than others. Over time, I will purchase more of my favourite foods and ignore the ones that I don't like as much. When it does come time for me to notice the forgotten food, usually because my husband goes to raid the fridge and moans at me about the out of date contents, it will have gone mouldy, and smelly. As a result, the expired food is then thrown in the bin.

How does this relate to prejudice, specifically prejudice against autism? The people we interact with are like the food we keep in our fridge. Occasionally we give a nod to those we may not feel most comfortable interacting with, and they lay forgotten while we "consume" opportunities to socialize with people we are more comfortable with. All the while, our perceptions of those people we have forgotten are decomposed by stereotypes, misconceptions, and ignorance. It then won't be long before those people are permanently forgotten.

Our parents have always told us not to be picky about our food. If we take their advice, we often find that the foods we shunned due to their unfamiliarity become our favourites. Perhaps they should've told us the same message about people.


ScrapMomOf2 said...

Great post Fiona. I think for most people, sometimes they just don't know how to act around a person that is different than they are, and that's a shame. We're all people, and our differences are what make us all interesting!

Projetor said...

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Scrappy Girl said...

Very interesting article. I enjoyed it. I loved looking at your work on your blog. I love all the COLOR!

Lee said...

Wow!!! What a phenomenal article! And written so that all of us who don't have much knowledge or experience with those with autism can really comprehend that depth of the issues!! Thank you so much for sharing that!!

Michelle said...

I LOVE this analogy! Thanks for posting the article.

Chrissy said...

I too found this blog and found a couple of the articles to be a remarkable insight. I was also very touched by Ashleigh's account which is written both beautifully and candidly. It is tempting to feel sorry....but methinks sorry is very useless in the main! Consideration and understanding always strike me as being more useful! But, hey what do I know....?
I love the pictures in the snow btw, they are fabulous :-D

CraftyC said...

My son was diagnosed with Aspergers a year ago and will have to find some time to look at this.My son is very picky about his food and cannot have peas on the same plate, we have to serve them in a seperate bowl. He also is very wary of textures and highly sensative to smells. Thanks for this!!

Bee said...

I like your parallel with food, I think a lot of people have seriously wrong ideas about what autism is and that hurts our society badly. That's one of the reasons why I tell everywhere I go that Noah is autistic if I see people wondering. He is such a sweet little guy and I want people to stop being afraid of autistic kids or keeping their kids from playing with an autistic kid... :-S