Using a social perspective to autism, I would appreciate if there were a way to classify someone as autistic without calling it a disorder. Yes, we have difficulties, but from a social perspective, a lot of them come from society being structured to meet the needs of allistics. They get guidance, acceptance, and ultimately privilege of a world that is designed for them, while we have to try to meet their expectations. From this perspective, we’re not disordered, but oppressed/marginalized. How does that make us disordered?

I agree that there are different levels of functioning, and that some individuals might meet criteria for a disorder due to autism spectrum characteristics, so that would be valid. However, many individuals would function quite well in a setting that was designed to raise, educate, and accommodate autistic brains.

Anyone have any insight or ideas on this?

  • Mr PoopyButthole@lemm.ee
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    11 months ago

    As a person with ADHD, I totally hear you.

    You’re right that in a different world, built for any particular neurodivergence, the balance of challenges would be different.

    For me though, I’ve learned to acknowledge that no fictional world-building could make me better at remembering names, faces, birthdays, the stories I’ve already told someone, or keep me from burning out my interest in new passions.

    At the end of the day, despite people thinking I’m “smart” and getting along well with others, I’m constantly exhausted by the additional effort it takes and nobody sees the excessive downtime it takes for me to recharge.

    I always think of GATTACA and how in a world of genetically modified rich people, a man has to hustle hard to blend in. It’s a constant effort 24/7 just to create the illusion that I’m operating the same as everyone else.

    The other thing is that most of the socioeconomic changes that would benefit me, would also benefit everyone else. Which is good, but means the balance would not be dramatically changed.

    I’ve realized my internal discomfort with acknowledging my condition as a disability, stems from believing a disability makes me lesser. What has alleviated that discomfort is realizing that’s not how people see each other in real life (in general).

    My sense of being lesser, of unfair struggle, comes from capitalism exclusively valuing persons/things that best grow the wealth if those with capital.

    I’m not lesser because I’m a bad person, or a stupid person. I FEEL lesser because the world I live in let’s people die when they can’t afford a hospital visit, and only values human life to the extent that it makes rich people richer.

    It doesn’t even matter if you bring greater value to the world with your art, if capitalists can’t monetize it for themselves.

    As capitalism’s stranglehold tightens on everybody exponentially, the rest of the world is starting to get a taste if disenfranchisement for themselves. As more people recognize the root of so many problems, people will continue pushing for more radical change.

    We might not live to see the best outcome of this fight, but know that you aren’t fighting you struggles alone and your obstacles aren’t your fault.

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.worldOPM
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      11 months ago

      I agree that capitalism makes us value each other based on the amount of wealth we can accumulate. It’s sad to see people defined by how they are able to enrich themselves rather than by who they are as a whole. Now, if we someone with a neurodivergence and they don’t help accumulate wealth as much, they are lower in the hierarchy, even if people decline to accept it. Sadly, I’ve seen videos that argue that autistic people are being sought out by some companies for their ability to focus and desire for order. The videos were arguing that autistic people have their strengths too. While I get the point, it’s still reducing a human to their contribution to capital.

      know that you aren’t fighting you struggles alone and your obstacles aren’t your fault.

      Thank you very much! That made me tear up. I love this community. ❤️

    • Penguinblue@kbin.social
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      11 months ago

      I respectfully disagree. If no one ever questioned society there would be no progress. Society is constituted by people and people can change their minds, that’s how progress happens. It’s why gay marriage is legal in so many countries and women and black people have equal rights (at least in law).

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.worldOPM
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      11 months ago

      Asperger’s was a syndrome, and they stopped calling it that, so it’s no longer a syndrome. The DSM is highly culturally-based.

      • Alexmitter@kbin.social
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        11 months ago

        Asperger’s was a syndrome, and they stopped calling it that, so it’s no longer a syndrome.

        Those words only have meaning to a US American. I am a Asperger. My diagnosis is Asperger and I do not want to be called ASD Level something.

        • Penguinblue@kbin.social
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          11 months ago

          But isn’t this the entire point? You like to call yourself that, and that is perfectly fine, but ultimately all of these words come from psychiatric diagnosis, from the DSM. That is where the labels were defined, that is where our cultural understanding of the neurotype comes from.

          Our culture has defined that you are disordered because of your way of being, you’ve been diagnosed as such. Another culture, a former culture will not have defined it that way. So you calling it a disorder is not based on anything absolute, it is based in a cultural understanding.

          I was diagnosed with autism level 1, not aspergers, because: 1 - We now understand that describing people based on ‘functioning’ is extremely damaging to the individual; and 2 - Asperger tested on children for the Nazis, and I think we can all agree that’s not cool.

          All of this is cultural, we didn’t know about the damage of functioning labeling at the time that diagnosis was accepted (or the whole Nazi thing), and so our cultural understanding of the condition has changed.

          Understandings of disorder are cultural, not absolute.

      • RobotToaster
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        11 months ago

        The official term in the UK is Asperger’s disorder, although I’ve never heard it actually called that.

  • pizza-bagel@kbin.social
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    11 months ago

    I don’t disagree that neurodivergent people would have a way better time if people/society took them into consideration more. But I am low support needs and still consider it a disorder. My boyfriend has ADHD and agrees. While there are a lot of things that would be fixed by having sensory friendly environments for example, there are still a lot of things about being autistic that hinder me that I wish would go away regardless of what accommodations exist.

      • pizza-bagel@kbin.social
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        11 months ago

        I would highly recommend you stop speaking for other autistic and ADHD people. If you think accommodations can help you with everything, that’s great. I’m not doubting that. But it’s ignorant as fuck to assume that your experience is the one true experience and you already know my entire life experience and autistic traits to be able to correct me like that.

        Let other autistic and ADHD people speak for themselves. We are more than capable.

  • moistclump@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    Yes, atypical Brian’s or neurodivergence does not necessarily equal disorder. I hated when my ex used to refer to my “disorder”. I found it not representative and even disrespectful to be honest.

    Maybe it’s because we associate disorder with non functioning, when’s it more “life on hard mode in the current social/cultural context”. It also implies there’s something wrong with the individuals rather than recognizing that the environment could also be adjusted to help the individual thrive.

    • angrystego@kbin.social
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      11 months ago

      How should the environment be adjusted? Are there any easy steps that would help a lot without inconveniencing others? I’d genuinely love to know.

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.worldOPM
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      11 months ago

      Exactly! And I’ve heard from several sources, including a therapist I was seeing, that having a few individuals with autistic traits in a pre-historical group was advantageous to the group as a whole. Two of the benefits I remember were that (1) they were great ambassadors/messengers because both parties trusted them more than NTs and (2) they were more aware of details in local environment to alert the group of important changes that affected everyone. Because of this, these individuals were highly regarded, cared for, and protected.

    • guriinii@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      I prefer the term neurotype over disorder. It should be seen as a neurological difference not a medical condition.

    • Falmarri@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      If Western society wasn’t structured in the way it is

      And if humans never evolved to talk, or weren’t social animals… Those hypotheticals are totally useless and doesn’t change the fact that issues making it harder for affected people to interact with the fast majority of people are in fact disorders

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.worldOPM
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      11 months ago

      Yes!! Thank you! If everyone were autistic, then our society would be structured around it. People would understand sensory overload, direct communication, dislike of hierarchies, lack of conformity, disappearing for days/weeks/months, need for order, etc. Society would be built considering all that into it, so it would just not even really be a thing.

      Kind of like there could be an alien species that looks exactly like us and enjoys stimulation while sleeping, so they think that humans are disordered because we have difficulty sleeping on beds that shake like an earthquake all night. “Op, yep. Those humans and their sensory sensitivity while sleeping. They’re disordered and need accommodations.”

      Since the majority of society doesn’t have autistic nervous systems, the assumption is that deviations are disordered and allistics are not. That’s what I’m getting at. Surely, there would be individuals that need more support than others, but support would probably be woven into the fabric of society, just like there are some individuals that suck at defending themselves from violence, so society created systems to protect those more vulnerable.

  • BilboBargains@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    Firstly we need to accept ourselves and be at peace with how we are, instead of trying and often failing to meet unreasonable expectations. We should be intolerant of abuse but tolerant of ignorance. We should play to our strengths and remind people of our important contributions to society. We aren’t very homogeneous and socially connected by nature but any effort to organise as a group will help. We should talk about the things that help us and promote them. A basic education in psychology is important. Meditation and access to psychiatric services is essential.

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.worldOPM
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      11 months ago

      I think you make some valid points, but I think that society shouldn’t depend on the term “disorder” to provide accommodations. If I have a friend that says he doesn’t like dogs, I don’t require that he have a dog phobia diagnosis to put my dog in another room when he comes over. Similarly, if someone were to be classified as Autistic Neurotype, that could be sufficient enough to provide accommodations to meet their needs. I’m also not advocating against the use of the term disorder. I think that should be a personal option that someone could choose.

      Additionally, while some may consider me a leader, my approach is to solely moderate this community by applying the rules and help foster engagement, discussions on difficult topics, and growth while maintaining the respectful culture we’ve developed. If we start limiting topics or judging users for their innocent messages, then we discourage sincerity and engagement. Some topics are going to be controversial, and this is a place for those discussions. Otherwise, users might go to less healthy settings to address them or not address them at all.

      I’m autistic just like everyone else, and will make my social mistakes. It’s happened before, and it’s going to happen again. I would appreciate some compassion and leniency with my engagement in the community if I make any mistakes or offensive remarks. I’m trying my best and only want good things for us.

  • BeautifulMind ♾️@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    I think it’s probably helpful to put words like ‘normal’ into their proper context- it’s a statistics term, not a baseline from whence deviation is morally fraught or anything.

    We’re different, not worse.

    Consider, if you will, the hypothetical in which you, a normal healthy human, visit Krypton and discover that the doors to their buildings are all high up, no need for stairs because *normal *people there can fly. In this sense, you are not accommodated in exactly the same way that a wheelchair-bound person is not accommodated when the stairs into our buildings aren’t accompanied by a ramp.

    On Krypton, you are handicapped not because of how you are, but because they don’t accommodate that. On Earth, the wheelchair-bound person is handicapped because we don’t always accommodate their needs. In neurotypical culture, being different only becomes a handicap when the people around you are unable or unwilling to accommodate you being you.

    We didn’t get the same degree of neural pruning when it was time for neurotypicals to get that, and it means we tend to process substantially more information- and the things our brain picks out as interesting aren’t always the normal, expected ones.

    The ‘disorder’ arises only when other people can’t meet you halfway, it’s not you.

  • ristoril_zip@lemmy.zip
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    11 months ago

    I feel like this is just a step toward throwing out the classification and description of individuals in terms of social norms and averages. Like, however it came to be (and I’m skeptical of your assertion that society has somehow been fashioned - presumably on purpose? - “to meet the needs of [so-called] allistics”), the society in which we live has bell curve distributions of many personality traits and capabilities and interests and on and on.

    There is such a thing as the middle of the bell curve, the 1 standard deviation from the mean, etc. It’s useful to call that something. We’ve called it “normal” or “typical” or whatever. And so people in the 2 std dev and higher bands are increasing magnitudes of “abnormal” or “atypical.” So what?

    Well, since time immemorial, being different could be dangerous to the survival of the group. So being different became pejorative. Only in the past couple hundred years have we began to appreciate that creative genius is almost always associated with “atypical” people. (Destructive genius, too.)

    I think we’re going through a time now where we’re acknowledging that maybe more people have always been “atypical” but they concealed it for various reasons. I see my kids’ generation as being particularly open to the variation that’s apparently pretty natural in our species (or driven by microplastics and forever chemicals).

    I don’t think doing away with statistical analysis of populations is the way to go, though. A better approach, to my mind, is to do away with the negative connotation that still accompanies the diagnosis of being 2 or more standard deviations away from the mean. Certainly it’s not coming up with a slew of new terms to replace “normal” or “typical.”

  • torpak@discuss.tchncs.de
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    11 months ago

    A disorder is something that makes it hard do function in current society. There are some autistics who would have difficulties in nearly any society but one could argue that it’s mostly due to comorbidities. Now the key to not being disordered for the rest of us is changing society so that we can live without being disabled by our environment. That change won’t happen without massive organized protest and it won’t be easy.

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.worldOPM
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      11 months ago

      There are some autistics who would have difficulties in nearly any society but one could argue that it’s mostly due to comorbidities.

      That’s such a good point! One could argue that an autistic person has trouble socializing not directly because of their autistic traits, but because allistic society has bullied them enough to develop social anxiety. In this case, the actual “disorder” that is preventing socialization is social anxiety, but the root cause was allistic bullying. Should allistic culture change to accept and embrace autistic traits, then there would be no problem, and the autistic person wouldn’t be considered disordered. Is that in line with your argument?

      • torpak@discuss.tchncs.de
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        11 months ago

        Those are not the only problems caused mainly by an overly allistic culture but, yes that’s the direction I was going with my argument.

  • Comment105@lemm.ee
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    11 months ago

    I would appreciate classification and diagnosis of more neurotypical quirks as disorders.

    A flip in mentality, where common behaviors that are more or less detrimental are actually seen as disorders and not just the common baseline that you can either be worse than or better than.

    Like you struggle to properly understand technical/nerdy things? That’s a disorder. Oh, you’re superstitious? That’s a disorder. Of course, we’d need to also frame the entire thing around a different word than disorder, as it just means different from normal and despite the actual colloquial understanding it’s technically not supposed to make a value judgement.

    I’d be very interested to hear your suggestions on what could be seen as a neurotypical disorder/flaw.

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.worldOPM
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      11 months ago

      That’s an interesting idea! Perhaps, the term would be “atypical” or something like that? Also, what do you think this approach would achieve? Perhaps more accommodations, understanding, or compassion for quirks?

      My first reaction to the idea is that it would result in a lot of people getting diagnoses and may dilute the value/strength that the diagnosis carries, so maybe people would take it less seriously. But, if implemented in an effective manner, it may turn out to increase awareness and compassion. However, I’m interested in your thoughts to develop a more concrete personal stance on it.

      • Comment105@lemm.ee
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        11 months ago

        I am actually thinking in the opposite direction, of choosing a word that makes a value judgment, and applying that to negative neurotypical traits.