Monday, May 3, 2010

disclose about oneself or mislead about others

Sarah's recent post over at is yet another undermining of what can be considered disabilty. A very cruel one in my opinion. She ponders what it is like to disclose one's identity of autism and what worries her about it, and complains of possible negative reactions towards her from others from it. I'm disturbed by seeing this nonsense about "invisible" disability and "disclosure", which she brings up.

She has no business claiming any "identity" as a disabled person if it's based on ideas like "invisible disability" and disclosure of "disability". If one has a real mental disability, there's no such thing as concealing it for significant amounts of time, therefore any question of disclosure of it is absurd. Such a disability is apparent eventually as complete sets of abilities are very often needed and shortfalls in them are noticeable. I'm talking common sense here. There is no way of avoiding the specific problems resulting from it, without keeping away from the situations involved. The way it is now, being known as autistic along with mental health "stuff", as she describes, doesn't necessarily qualify as disability, or at least shouldn't be considered to.

The implications of someone who isn't impaired disclosing a diagnosis, are way different compared to those that would result based on someone who is significantly impaired. I can't determine what motivation she would have to tell others about her autism, and what reasonable outcome she would look for. I don't know what understanding of her from others she seeks. If only she wouldn't misconstrue the basic concept of what disability is by even just bringing it into her trivial discussion of disclosure and others' reactions to disclosure. Her reputation with those she knows at graduate school likely isn't delicate or in turmoil, as it would be for those who are known to be impaired and who are in less rewarding settings. When those in her position talk to others they know about their autism, I can't expect that their descriptions of it to them won't be done in a way that will distort others' perceptions of what it can be like for many of those with autism and how it should be handled.

How dare she complain about "ableism", with her directing indignation at the disabled themselves! And for what? For viewing disability as awful and tragic! (As if such a natural thought would have to be taught.) Her and the other vermin shouldn't go on the assumption that autism presupposes disability, as many of them themselves lack disability, unless they would consider questioning whether or not they should be labeled autistic. I surely don't expect them to not consider themselves autistic, but it must be acknowledged that those highly-abled autistics do not have a stake in the disability issue that concerns autism. They don't bear the burden of the impairments that they declare as being just and not of negative quality.


  1. "I can't determine what motivation she would have to tell others about her autism, and what reasonable outcome she would look for."

    The answer to your question is she shouldn't have to hide it and pretend. She shouldn't have to pretend to be something she is not.

    Do you not see the point Billy?

    Those who say otherwise by saying the phrases you're entitled nothing, why should we change for you, life is not fair, cut the pity act out, yadda, yadda, yadda, can go fuck themselves. I have a complete counter argument to these right wing, take responsbility, life is not fair, you're entitled to nothing assholes.

    This above link is my argument against farmwifetwo's comment about ari ari ne'eman about not being entitled to a job. I will take her right wing american values to task.

  2. Hide what? What does she have to hide? I doubt she is pretending anything. What do they not already know about her that a label will reveal? I don't know what you're referring to with the phrases you mention. I'm trying to point out the misleading way she's talking of the issue. Mental disabilities aren't undetectable, and she shouldn't be passing herself off as having one while not showing any signs of any.

  3. Hi. I think that a lot of people aren't very educated about disability and they can perceive people with certain "invisible" or not-immediately-recognized disabilities in a way that is negative or unfair.

    For example, a person with mild autism or mild cerebral palsy could be perceived as being drunk because they speak in a disorganized/spacey way or walk unsteadily. This could lead to people who are against drinking not wanting to associate with that person. Or it could lead to people not listening to what the person says because they think the person isn't sober. Or it could lead to the person getting in trouble with police officers and other authority figures because they're thought to be drunk.

    I don't think mental disabilities are undetectable to people who are familiar with them. I'm reasonably good at perceiving when other people have ASD or ID, even if it is mild, because I'm quite familiar with ASD and ID. But people who are less familiar may think they "know" something about a person like Sarah or me, when in fact the thing they "know" is an assumption based on symptoms of our disability that they have interpreted as something else.

    Does any of that seem like it could hold water?

  4. Overall, I don't think mental disability coming from autism would resemble drunkenness for very long. Not even in the short term. I really doubt Sarah and the others like her who have such a trivial obsession with disclosure of their condition, seem drunk to those who they know, regardless of whatever eccentricities of theirs.

    My disability isn't misinterpreted as drunkenness. I can't conceal it or have any days where I demonstrate lack of disability. The only time during which I'm not apparently disabled to a stranger is when I'm asleep. If someone is autistic mildly enough where disability isn't apparent to those who they know, even through complex and demanding endeavors, then they just aren't disabled. And they don't appear to be drunk to them either. I think they would have real trouble already with those they knew if they were thought to be drunk by them all the time.

  5. well, I haven't met Sarah so I don't know what she's like and whether she seems drunk or anytihng else. Maybe drunkenness is a poor example (for both CP and ASD) but I think it's serviceable. The point of disclosing IS that you have "real trouble" if people don't understand the way you are. People may not read you as disabled, but read the way you are as some kind of choice or a symptom of something besides disability.

    For example, I am a bad speaker and have been since I started talking. I run my words together, speak softly, get off track easily, and perhaps most unfortunately I have trouble using the kind of words that go with the verbal dress code of the situation (for example I'm often mistaken for a class clown when I'm being completely genuine, simply because my word choice doesn't seem academic enough so my classmates and professor assume it is a joke). By concentrating hard I can make sure I stay on track, but that leads to me seeming very nervous or sometimes like I don't care (because it's hard to monitor my content carefully while also making expressions and looking people in the eye).

    One result of this is that people make assumptions about my character. For example because they think I'm nervous, they think that I'm shy or I'm being dishonest. People also make assumptions about me being somehow weak or immature--judgements that are insulting, because they mean that no matter how emotionally strong or mature I may become, I will always be regarded negatively because I have trouble talking.

    I also recently heard that someone who interviewed me for a job working as a camp counselor thought I wasn't capable of being responsible for someone else's safety, because I was "so quiet" when I was being interviewed.

    Sorry to write such a long and in-depth response but I think these are good examples of how disability can affect a person negatively without being read as a disability.

  6. I understand that your situation makes sense in regards to the consequences of others not knowing your condition. I wouldn't deny that. Your speaking difficulties are similar to mine.

    I've wondered how others I've known have perceived my mental state as they've seen my behavior and attempts to do things. I wonder how much they would have understood my weaknesses and choices if they had known of my condition, and how they would have understood the behaviors that I resorted to in dealing with the problems of my condition.

  7. I guess I don't understand what you are saying in this post then. Previously, you said that "The only time during which I'm not apparently disabled to a stranger is when I'm asleep." But now you are saying, maybe people would have understood you better "if they had known of my condition." So do you think people can automatically tell you're ASD, or not?

    You said that if Sarah has to tell people she's disabled then she's not disabled. But, although I don't know how Sarah appears in real life, I don't understand this assumption. I'm not trying to be rude and I appreciate you being so polite to me but what is the difference between my situation (which definitely involves the issue of disclosure) and yours, and how do you know Sarah's situation is not like ours?

  8. I meant they would have understood my circumstances better. I obviously was impaired and they knew it of course, but they hardly ever see someone who has such a combination of impairments, such as me. Sometimes I think they expected me to be capable of things I just wasn't, especially considering I was in settings in which the mentally impaired are hardly ever in.

    If someone is truly disabled, it will be observable. Understanding of it by others doesn't usually occur though. I think too many out there are ignorant and only would notice some of the signs of ASD, and not necessarily identify it, and would rather make other conclusions. They don't know what to think about the impairments they see.

    I don't know why Sarah has been so obsessed with others knowing of her condition when her condition doesn't come along with disability. My situation is different I think due to my various impairments and that I don't have ASD in a typical way.

    Sarah's lack of impairment and her success is what makes me know her situation is different. My situation fundamentally concerns the high level of impairment I have and the consequent lack of a decent standard of living. I think she isn't impaired because she hasn't talked of any impairments of hers, and is well accomplished. I am aware of no evidence of any impairments of hers, and strongly doubt she has any, considering that she doesn't talk of such issues as if they affect her.

  9. I don't write about my impairments that much, that's not what interests me about being disabled. Sarah may have impairments she doesn't write about. I mean, a lot of her blog is about pop culture or things she reads; it's not usually about her personal life.

    Actually she did mention in her post that some people she told had already figured that Sarah had ASD. So her impairment must be somewhat observable.

    Even if everyone sees you as impaired, I am a person who isn't necessarily seen as impaired but I have explained and you have agreed that people react to my impairments in a way that affects me. So the issue of disclosure is a real one for me and I don't think that my need to explain I have a disability means that my disability doesn't affect me.

  10. If Sarah doesn't talk about any of the real issues seriously, her talk of her disclosure as if it had anything to do with disability, shouldn't be considered seriously. She should just keep up talking of pop culture or whatever base and trivial aspects really concern her, instead of crossing the line into things that concern the really disadvantaged. For all I know, what those others could have noticed about her are just traits.

  11. What are "just traits?"

    Do you think I have the right to talk about disclosure based on what I write about?

    Why should people have to prove they are disabled in order to talk about being disabled? If someone was writing a blog about being blind, would you require that they prove they are really blind, and so on?

  12. I'm not sure. And I don't know what traits others may be noticing on her. I don't know why she doesn't talk of it in any detail. I don't think you should be denied the right to talk of disclosure.

    To discuss their personal experience of disability, they should to an extent prove they're disabled so others can have some certainty they really are. I mean by at least enumerating some impairments. I'm not going to just believe what they say otherwise, because of those non-disabled out there plotting against the truly disabled through passing themselves off as disabled, who I want to expose.

  13. Okay, I guess we're at an impasse. I mean I have seen things Sarah has said that make me think she's really ASD but I would believe her just from her saying it, I don't really see what she would gain by lying.

    but thanks for being so polite about me coming and commenting a bunch on your blog.

  14. Hey, good post and good discussion.

    I think that people have the right to pursue a cure, just as those who don't want a cure can refuse one being administered to them. But through it all, there is the big question of who does and doesn't want one.

    Now, I used to talk about this a lot, but the label "autistic" across the whole spectrum can make for some confusing discussions. It kind of blankets everyone, and makes them all seem as one, when they have different abilities and disabilities associated with their own specific spectrum disorder, and makes it seem unfair, in my opinion, to anyone who feels disabled and wants a cure, to many people with less serious complications who don't want a cure.

    I myself don't have any interest in being cured. But I won't say that no one should get a cure since I'd have it forced on me(which I sincerely doubt would happen, we're not a bunch of fascists).

  15. That's an important point to consider Joeker. I see too many who don't want a cure trying to prevent others from having one, while not letting it be clear that they didn't lose much due the way they have autism, and have even gained tremendous ability due to the way they're on the spectrum, while many others on the spectrum have only been deprived of ability because of where they are on the spectrum.

    They should also stop portraying cure as some personal offense, and the viciously anti-cure don't really have anything to be cured anyway, since they're not really impaired. It's time for cure to be known as getting rid of disability and distributing ability to those who lack it.

  16. Lurker's wilful lack of ability led him to jail for theft. There, I said it.