Wednesday, 28 November 2007

So why do we have a hard time?

NB If you are looking for WW - scroll down!

Cait O’Conner made a comment on my Trip to Harrods post ‘you make us think and examine our own far to conventional lives’ And many of you expressed that you would like to have done what C did. As im sure there are other things that C has ‘got away with’ (or probably not, but he is unaware) that we would like to do, but because of what is supposedly socially acceptable we don’t.

Abstract jenn on the same day sent me a video clip that I would like to share with you of an autistic young man reduced to giggles in his big moment in the middle of the National anthem.

But instead of everyone jeering at him they helped him. I found this very touching.
If you have been reading my blog you will have shared some of my pain, heartache, embarrassment and joy, and you all have been so supportive.
Is this a blogging community thing?? As a cross section of society that you are (well maybe a bit bias one or two of you) this is not something that C and are exposed to in our daily lives. Why do C and I therefore get so much prejudice from the public and professionals whom we meet or just pass in the street.
Its not that long ago that the long stay asylums were closed and we now see more ‘Cs’ on the streets (for that i am very thankful) and the more able ones in our classrooms. I live in hope that attitudes will change - or am I asking to much (maybe in Cs life time) There is unfortunately still stigma attached to gay, coloured people, single mums and other minority groups, but times are changing. And maybe all these people will one day be totally socially acceptable.
I do hope so.


Elizabethd said...

Very interesting thought Casdok. I wonder if it is because we all came together as , almost , a single unit, thereby having many needs, values and expectations of ourselves which are similar. We are also mainly female, does that make a difference?
Have a good time away.

Gary said...

That video is one of the most beautiful moments I have seen on Youtube, thanks for posting it.

Ripple said...

Have fun!

It's hard for me sometimes to enjoy people when I'm out in public. When I get into certain moods and it seems like the world is kicking my butt, I'm not prejudiced, I tend to dislike everybody equally. That being said, the people I've met online here are really cool once you get to know them a little. So, generally I tend to enjoy people and do things with people rather than go around hating, treating people bad and being angry at the world.

I can relate to you and C a little because I get to enjoy fatism, which another form of prejudism.

Chris H said...

Safe travellings sweetie!

Anonymous said...

We hold that hope with you.

Have a lovely couple of days!

Jen said...

Have a great time traveling! My SO and I buggered off last weekend (after making sure that all of the kids were properly placed), and had an amazing time...I hope that it's as good for you.

You asked "Is this a blogging community thing?? As a cross section of society that you are (well maybe a bit bias one or two of you) this is not something that C and are exposed to in our daily lives"

Well, for me it's that you're literally the only other mother that I've met online that has a child who does not live at home...who is either in an institution, a care home, or something similar, and is willing to talk about it. Usually other autistic parents don't want to talk to me after the first few minutes lol...3 kids, one in a group home- I'm kind of their worst nightmare.

You write well, and I'm usually able to relate well to your experiences...sending C back to school, re-organizing life when he's back at home, basically living with what life has dealt to the two of you, and doing it with excellent writing as well as good cheer.

When I first saw that video I cried for at least half an hour...which is a sad commentary on our society, wherever we live. But it was incredible to see that man getting the support that he deserved, and hopefully some day all of us will get that. My children get it occasionally, and often from the people who know them and love them, but even if it's just a mob mentality thing that turned good for a change, it was great to see.

Unknown said...

Happy travels.
My current theory: anything 'other' provokes fear. Which is expressed in ugly ways.

Now that I've gotten to where I mostly look 'normal' (gag), mostly act 'normal' (double gag) and generally try to avoid contact / exposure when I'm not able to synthesize what's "normal", I feel the sharp reactions to my 'offness' even more acutely. I don't know the spectrum lingo yet, and don't know how to express that I'm not comparing myself to C - he has a different set of challenges.

But it's perhaps a bit like achieving a high level of integration in a foreign culture - once you speak fluently and otherwise "fit in," you realize how hostile the natives really are to foreigners.

I guess this non-acceptance is fear, fear of fear, fear of the unknown, fear of one's own suppressed otherness. It's insecurity - if 'normal' lets 'other' be equal, 'normal' will lose its pseudo-superiority and the accompanying security. That's human nature, right?

People generally only work on themselves, on their painful internal ick, when there's no way to avoid it. You've done that, I've done it, but what would motivate Joe-average-'normal' to face certain loss of his pseudo-security?

Anonymous said...

I am not embarrassed about Amy's disability and never will be. If people get embarrassed themselves, it's purely their problem. It's about time society accepted everyone for who they are. We are all equal.

Crystal xx
p.s. enjoy your trip.

Suzy said...

I remember seeing that game on TV and it brought tears to my eyes....

Have a great few days traveling.

Travel safe my friend.


Marla said...

Thanks for sharing the video. I don't know why the blogging community seems so much more supportive either. I do know I need my daily "fix" of it.

Jenn O'Neil said...

Yayyyyy I'm glad you used the clip! Have a great few days away.

katy said...

Safe travels Casdok.
the vidoe was indeed very touching.
No this should not be a blogging community thing and it maddens me that the public show so much prejudice, they are rude and ignorant.
My son was brought up to treat everybody with respect and with no prejudice. Everybody deserves the right to be socially acceptable but i am afraid this may never happen and i still put it down to sheer rudeness.
enjoy your travles girl x

Paul Joe said...

Thanks for the video!

Nancy said...

I can't believe watching this actually made me cry.

To answer your post, I think MOST people are like minded (as this stadium shows)... compassion and understanding.

It's the ignorant, uneducated ones(in how to accept everyone as is) that stand out in the crowd, and unfortunately, respond to C and others like him, because they are totally clueless.

I bet they respond to gays, physically challenged, minority, single moms with a few wild kids in tow, etc., in the same manner.

Dang, I have to go watch that video again =)

Janice Thomson said...

Casdok that brought tears AND laughter to my my eyes. I loved the crowd's reaction!! If only it was always like this.
Years ago I was a nurse in an institution that had many many C's.
When returning to the workforce after raising my own family it was both a shock and a delight to know my title was no longer in use (In those days we were called MDN's - Mental Deficiency Nurse). The world has grown up a great deal in learning to accept a C as just another person and not someone to hide away. Though it has a long way to go it is heartening to see at least this much progress. As with anything change is always so slow.
This blog I am sure has helped people reach a better understanding - thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I think [hope] that we're moving in the right direction.

Hope you enjoy your trip.
Best wishes

Vi said...

Have a good break, mate!

Phil Plasma said...

Have a great trip to where ever you are going!

Odat said...

You're changing the world!!! One baby step at a time! Don't stop.

Ange said...

Enjoy your travel. A world without judgment and assumption would be wonderful, but are both unfortunately things I struggle with daily.

Anonymous said...

That video was awesome. Almost brings tears to your eyes.

Beth said...

Wonderful video. Such a moving moment when the crowd joined in - and when that young man kept on singing and smiling.

Amanda said...

have a good trip!
not sure we can change the world to something utopian, but every little bit, even if means just changing a heart at a time makes for a better future.

VAB said...

Slowly but surely.

Here's an example. There is an autistic fellow who takes a walk in front of my house twice a day. He is accompanied by two staff members. Sometimes he just walks by. Sometime he makes a loud warbling noise and flaps his arms.

I've got a feeling that, 20 or 30 years ago, going for walks around the neighborhood would not have been on his schedule.

A decade ago, I would not have known the chap was autistic. I would have classified him as "crazy."

As our son doesn't flap, without having read the autism blogs, which I only started to do a year ago, I would never have imagined that the warbling and flapping were signs of my neighbor being in a good mood. I would have assumed that he was in distress. As such I would have probably also imagined that he could be dangerous, as anyone in extreme distress is likely to be.

Now, rather than feel concerned, when my neighbor goes by in a good mood, that lifts my mood a little bit too.

I can't help feeling that, as this sort of knowledge spreads out into the world, the general public will become more relaxed. It is true that the number of people who read autism blogs is not enormous, but the number of people who know people who read autism blogs is probably not tiny. And in my town we are talking about organizing an awareness walk (I'm plugging for June 18th -- Autistic Pride Day).

Slowly, but surely.

Fire Byrd said...

At the risk of this being an inflammatory comment, of course we are supportive of you here in blogland. We don't need to face the reality of dealing with C sitting next to us on the train.

That's not to say we wouldn't be more tolerant of him if we knew him, but how many of us can really say that we are comfortable dealing with people outside of what is considered the norm.

I used to work in the asylums and I know what it was like. We once took a 6 of the most disturbed people I have ever met over to Belgium, it was a salutory lesson in intolerance.

I like to think that I'm good at equality and diversity, and I am from a distance. But I do turn away from the big issue sellor as often as I face them. What does that say about me? it certainly doesn't make me proud.

floating in space said...

Thank you for sharing the video. It was beautiful. Something similar recently happened one Sunday during church. When the time came to sing the Our Father, a man started singing loudly and off-key. At first, everyone looked around to see who was singing so terribly. Then, when people realized the man singing had a disability, they all joined in and sang louder, helping him finish the song. Moments like these give me hope.

Kahless said...

Have a great few days travelling...pleasure not work I hope.

You are right, in blogland I think we do seem more supportive of eachother. Or is it just that it is easier for like minded individuals to find eachother?

Cyndi said...

Have a safe trip!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I think times are changing. I think we have come far in being more understanding/compassionate/tolerant of differences. We have further to go, but society, in general, is moving in the right direction I feel.

whimsical brainpan said...

"And maybe all these people will one day be totally socially acceptable.
I do hope so."


Have a safe trip and a good time.

Anonymous said...

It's very rare that I get to be the first comment anywhere.

Anyway, I think you find support and compassion here because this is a small community. The kind of people that you see giving you looks in the street, are probably not the kind of people that would find their way to our little corner of the internet. They are selfish and closed minded.

That's my opinion anyway

But Why? said...

Great, uplifting clip.

On the difference between bloggers and the dude on the street, here we interact on our own terms. If there's something we don't like, we leave and don't come back. So there's a fairly self-selecting bunch of people hanging around,. whereas all of life can be found on the streets. And also queuing at Post Offices.

S.L. said...

I love, love, love your writing!! I do agree, the blog community is like a safe cocoon...then there's the scary, mean world out there. It is my greatest hope that society become more accepting and willing to truly mesh with all peoples (especially, of course, with my daughter!). That is my life's new calling--working each day for autism acceptance. Wonderful entry. Happy & safe travels!

captain corky said...

Have a great trip.

frog ponds rock... said...

Thankyou for the clip of the young man singing.. It made me cry...YAY..

The only way I can answer your question is by sending you and C a smile from Australia..

My children were shunned and made fun of, because the spouse and I chose to live a little bit differently...

prejudice is the same any where..It just has different ways of jumping out...Bastards..

enjoy your holiday...

Anonymous said...

Yes in general I feel most of the blogging community are very supportive of their fellow bloggers.
I think you get support because we have been exposed to your experiences, emotions, etc with situations involving c.
Most people in the outside world are not, most likely they don't know anyone personally who has an autistic child so all they see is the outward manifestation of their behavior.

I do think people's attitudes will change but ever so slowly. I doubt we will see it in our lifetimes.

Pat said...

Now you've got my mascara running!

BBC said...

To bad I can't watch the video with my wimpy modem.

"Why do C and I therefore get so much prejudice from the public and professionals whom we meet or just pass in the street."

I think that I can answer that for you. Your blog attracts the kind of folks that can relate to you and C. If others happen to read it and not agree with you they most likely don't leave comments.

But out on the streets of life you experience all sorts of people, and some of them are just that way, and show it.

Hope that your trip is enjoyable and safe.

GFCF Mommy said...

I found that video so touching, partly because my 5 yo ASD son's class is going to do the pledge at a basketball game tomorrow night. I hope our audience is as understanding and sweet as the one at Fenway Park. This does really give me a little hope.

Also, I read you all the time but don't comment as much as I should. I love the way you look at the world and your positive attitude is such a breath of fresh air, though I am sorry for all the unkindness you and your son have suffered.

Have safe travels.


Anonymous said...

Traveling merices, mama.

BBC said...

Once upon a time I was under the delusion that I could start a blog and educate and change what the world thinks God is, therefore making it a better place. I’m no longer under that delusion.

I do fully understand your need to try though to educate about Autism, it’s as if you are pushed by the cosmos to try, even on days that you don’t want to, when you are so frustrated that you could just pull your hair out. Carry on then, but don’t forget to just stop and have fun at times also. Nothing like a good goof off day on a blog, where you just post humor or something. Hugs.

"There is unfortunately still stigma attached to gay, coloured people, single mums and other minority groups, but times are changing. And maybe all these people will one day be totally socially acceptable.
I do hope so."

After so many thousands of years with little change I'm beginning to be doubtful.

Omega Mum said...

I don't think people are cruel, just thoughtless and lacking in imagination. And in blogland, we all have time to reflect in what we say - something that doesn't always happen in real life. Have a lovely time while you're away.

Angela said...

It is hard to find decent people sometimes my blog also helps me remember they are still out there.
enjoy your traveling.

DJ Kirkby said...

I was reading your post wondering why you hadn't gone away until I got to the last line and realised you were on your way! Have a great time and come over to mine when you get back 'cos I think you will get a laugh out of today's post. xo

Synchronicity said...

hey we will miss you. it is so wonderfully supportive here in blogland. i am grateful to have such an outlet. i have met all sorts of great people here...folks kinder to me than my own family.

Hermes said...

That is a good video. Shows what everyone needs. Support, help and appreciation. I wish that ten thousand voices would lift for me when I am faltering.

vivavavoom said...

that video actually brought me to tears. how awesome for him and big kudos to those in the stands. thank you for making my day!! you rock.

Anonymous said...

That video was great, gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing it.

cher said...

i dunno. i'm such a cynic. i actually deleted a whole rant i just typed about what i really think people are like out of blog land. basically, they are people. and most peoples hearts are tarnished. mine included.

Jade said...

I definitely know what its like to live a life attached to stigma. Its tough..and tiring..and often times very frustrating. But we also learn a lot about ourselves during these experiences. I have faith that things will change for those that are discriminated against, and can actually see change happening in many corners. Slowly mind you, but happening non the less.

Noble fights are never in vain and you're fighting the good fight. Don't let people steal yours or C's spirit. You are both too special for that.

vivavavoom said...

hey...can't find that video on youtube and wanted to load it to my did you get it?

Casdok said...

You will find the video on my You tube, the link is in my side bar.
Good isnt it!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the world was always that supportive?! I think the difference is that in blogland people get to self select, but more importantly to listen to the explanations, so they have a level of understanding, unlike in 'real life'. Most of the problems I've expereinced (which are nothing like the level C goes through) have all come down to one thing...under it all people are afraid of what they don't know, and fear might happen to them. Like any other kind of fear or prejudice knowledge is the key to undoing that I think. BG