Making friends can be hard. The only way I’ve ever made friends as an adult was via a common interest.
I’ve tried making friends with neighbors or moms of my child’s friends (the way other women seem to do) but have never been successful because I have no idea what women talk about or how to…
You have something with common interests. Those are important. There is something else that helps. There is no delicate way to put this: find other weird people. They do not necessarily have to be autistic, but it helps if they are eccentric. People like that are usually less judgmental and more accepting. Almost everyone I have been able to connect with deeply is odd or has been marginalized in some way.
When Connie Feda’s 13 year old daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome, wanted a doll that looked like her, Connie was inspired to make her own!
When your child is disabled, it is almost impossible to find a doll that represents them. With some struggle, it is possible to find glasses, doll-sized hearing aids or a wheelchair. But a doll that reflects the facial and physical appearances of Downs Syndrome has yet to be produced.
One girl had waited long enough! According to WPXI.com, Connie Feda’s 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Downs Syndrome, was flipping through a toy catalogue when she said to her mom, “None of these dolls look like me. Not one of them.” Feda was inspired to make a doll that represented her.
Feda designed the doll, not just to look like a child with Downs, but to be stimulating and sympathetic to Downs children in other ways too. The doll’s clothes have zippers that are easier to grip and can be special ordered with a “badge of courage” scar painted on to the chest to indicate the heart surgery common to Downs children. For all these reasons, the doll is perfect for a child with Downs or a friend or sibling.
Feda is taking pre-orders now for her Dolls for Downs. She advertizes them with this smart tagline: “My doll has more chromosomes than your doll.” It’s this attitude – that she is unashamedly proud and shrugs aside any notion that there is something lacking in a child with a disability – that I respect about her project.
There are many restrictions on children with disabilities – but play should never be one of them.
What a wonderful project. Way to go, Connie and Hannah Feda!
Ah, but it’s in a classic Business Insider Template Bullshit, so it works for them.
While they threw a dart on the wall and landed on 19 then proceeded to introduce each cherry picked Reddit comment with a stock photo and an encapsulating 3 word introductory sentence while managing to…
What irritates me about this is they trace it all back to being *labeled* gifted rather than actually being, you know, smart.
Sure, you can become arrogant because people *tell* you you’re the smartest kid in the room. But you can also become arrogant because you yourself notice that you actually *are* the smartest kid in the room—and you haven’t figured out that a person’s abilities don’t determine their value as a person.
And so on.
If the article didn’t do that, it would read to me like a typical set of “gifted problems.”
Love your point about not traumatizing the poor chess-playing kid, by the way. (Plus, I’m not sure making the kid not-white makes up for their stereotypicality in choosing a picture of a chess playing kid!)
Does anyone notice that people with disabilities are often pushed to excel in something, just so that they can compensate for their difficulties? In fact, I would say those from just about any minority group is pressured to perform well in sports, academics, or other respected areas so that they can have a foot in the door when dealing with a racist/sexist/ableist/homophobic society. I understand the sentiment that parents particularly want their children to show the world what they are capable of, when society does not think they can do anything.
However, even if PWD do not have any extraordinary talents, they still are human beings who deserve to be accepted like anyone else. The idea that they are obligated to work on special skills, while NT/able-bodied people are allowed to just be your average joes, is ableist. Of course, this also applies to people of different skin color, languages, or even the female gender. I know there are many instances of parents pushing their children to get straight A’s or be really good at sports, so that they prove themselves worthy of respect, even though they are black/Hispanic/female.
I am glad the majority of autistic rights advocates strongly oppose the idea that autism acceptance only applies to gifted “high-funtioning” autistics. But the general public still views autistics as geniuses and savants with poor social skills. So that means if autistics do not fit those stereotypes, they are unfortunate failures who can neither do science nor work well with people.
YES!!! This is why I get so cross when autism awareness/acceptance efforts keep dragging Einstein up as a reason why autistic people are worthwhile. No, no, no, just no. Einstein (who may or may not have been autistic. I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there - and neither were you) is NOT your average autistic person any more than he’s your average German or your average male. He’s not your typical anything - he was Einstein.
Most autistic people aren’t Einstein, we shouldn’t have to be, and using awesome savant superpowers and extreme-end-of-the-bell-cure intelligence as an argument for the rights of autistic people doesn’t actually address the core issue: We shouldn’t have to justify our right to exist. We’re human beings, therefore we deserve respect and the same human rights and dignity as everyone else.
(This is a rant-triggering topic for me, because I’m an autistic person who doesn’t have any awesome gifts or souped-up skills.)
It’s an important thing.
From family history (I’m not related to him, but he was a family friend, my uncle has a letter from him, he sponsored my great-grandpa to get out of Germany, that kind of thing) I can tell that he was able to get along with autistic people (great-aunt Rona was pretty blatant, great-grandma Fanny ticked my Aut-dar a bit, one of her sons/my grandpa is also fairly clear…) but that’s not saying that he was himself autistic. And we don’t need to know if he was autistic anyways, because all the stuff you said. It’s not about super-skills or whatever, it’s about humanity.
Absolutely, people are worthwhile whether they’re good at anything or not!
It seems to me though, from personal experience anyway, that having a disability makes things harder and makes one work harder to accomplish the same amount other people do. If you’re also really good at something, however obscure, it gives you a counterbalancing area where things are easier for you than other people. It also gives you something other people can appreciate and respect you for, whether or not they know about your disability. Plus, being good at something can give you a sense of accomplishment, which can be really nice when a lot of the time you’re worrying about whether you can measure up and accomplish your goals because of the disability.
So one things I love about Temple Grandin (besides that she’s successful while never being cured and still being obviously quite autistic), is that her very specific talents helped her find something to do that gives her life value and meaning. IIRC she’s talked a lot about wanting to make the world a better place for having lived in it…just like we all want. It’s just that while some of us bumble along trying to figure out what it is, for her, there was a perfect and obvious match, given her amazing visual thinking and love of animals.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is…I get why the assumption that autistic people MUST be savants is ableist, but isn’t developing talents a good thing that should be encouraged?
Put a dead salmon in it: Check
…If you like it then be sure to put a dead salmon in it?
This makes the neuroscience nerd inside me *very* happy.
For me, it feels like stimming is something that I have to do, otherwise I feel like there is all this energy pent up inside me and it drives me nuts. I cannot imagine what it must be like for people who were/are not permitted to stim. It must be like torture. I’m 20 now and…
Wow, must be amazing to have all that energy that needs some place to go! Thanks for explaining this—makes a lot of sense to me.
By chance you come across an academic journal article online that needs to be paid for (something like $25-$40), lots of times you can take the authors name from the article, google them for their email, and ask if they can send you their article b/c you’re interested in their work. More often than not, they’ll say ‘cool’ and send it as an attachment.
It’s true! I’ve done this. It’s great. :)
In a potentially seismic move, the National Institute of Mental Health - the world’s biggest mental health research funder, has announced only two weeks before the launch of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual that it will be “re-orienting its research away from DSM categories”. In the announcement, NIMH Director Thomas Insel says the DSM lacks validity and that “patients with mental disorders deserve better”.
WOW WOW WOW YESSSSSSSSS
It’s definitely a step in the right direction.
I wonder how many people on Tumblr have really taken five minutes to even google this, because no, it’s not really a good thing or a step in the right direction?
NIMH wants mental disorders to be diagnosed by genetic, biological and cognitive markers instead of ‘just lists of symptoms’, meaning that they want mental disorders to be steered more towards biological psychiatry.
Aka if your brain doesn’t look sick, you’re not sick.
I really don’t think that’s an improvement???
‘True, the NIMH is leaving some room for discussion of environmental and psychological factors. “Self-reports” will also apparently be a “unit of analysis,” though interest in the thoughts and testament of patients seems characteristically small. The agency’s overwhelming focus is to remain on the brain as the alleged seat and cause of psychiatric suffering.’ (x)
ahhhhhhhhh no :(
I need to get out of this country.
This is a total media-created misconception, thank goodness.
They’re not abandoning the DSM because there’s nothing to replace it with. Instead, Insel’s pointing out the flaws with it, saying it’s obsolete, and saying that research will no longer be focused on DSM categories (it’s about time!). The new cross-diagnostic-boundary findings will be incorporated into the DSM as soon as there’s enough empirical basis for it.
[Image : Common house mouse on 18-piece green background. Top Text : “Ask therapist if you have [insert disorder] they say yes but they didn’t want to scare you.” Bottom Text : ” Actually feel better because it means you weren’t imagining it.”]
Labels can be incredibly validating, can’t they?
Reminds me of the title of that ADHD book I keep seeing at the bookstore, “You mean I’m not lazy, stupid, or crazy?!”
The Walt Disney Company filed 33 applications on May 1st to trademark “Day of the Dead” in anticipation of a future film. That Disney intends to make money off the name of a cultural holiday celebrated by millions of people of Mexican and Central American heritage is awful enough. That they intend to file for ownership of the name and tradition is downright unacceptable and incredibly offensive.
Previously, Disney attempted to trademark the Navy SEAL team that captured Osama Bin Laden, but after outrage from the public, it was forced to withdraw that application citing “deference to the Navy.” If we send a strong enough message to Disney this time around, it will be forced to also withdraw applications to avoid another public relations disaster.
Tell Disney that culture is NOT for sale. Sign this petition calling on Disney’s CEO & chairman to immediately withdraw all applications to trademark Day of the Dead. If we get over 15,000 signatures, we’ll personally deliver it to Disney headquarters. Can you help us get there by signing and sharing?
So how does this work—do Hispanic families in America have to pay Disney every time they try to celebrate Day of the Dead?