Part of my recent stress is the realisation of the amount of anti-autistic bias that exists in the world. And it’s the main reason I’ve left Facebook and no longer read any newspaper articles etc that mention autism in the headlines.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve been able to avoid all anti-autistic content. In fact, it seems to be everywhere. And a lot of it is unconscious bias. I’m sure the authors would never think themselves to be anti-autistic!
The latest gem is something I read today. In a book called “Growing Young” about longevity and the science of living a long and healthy life. The chapter I’m on now is about the importance of chemicals such as serotonin and vasopressin…and oxytocin. So far so good. Then the author comes out with this:
“Also, some experiments have shown that spraying oxytocin into the noses of kids with autism may boost their social skills. But if you have someone with autism in your family, don’t rush to stock up on OxyLuv just yet. The work on such treatments is still in the early stages.”
Followed by a warning on how we don’t yet know the long-term effects of using oxytocin supplements. So, the only downside she sees is possible side effects. Not the fact that autism doesn’t need “treatment” and that autistic people might not need or want to boost their “social skills”. By which she means non-autistic social skills.
Autistic people have our own social skills. Anyone who has been in a group of autistic people getting together knows this is true. I’d love to see a study on how such autistic-autistic interactions might increase our natural oxytocin levels, or just help us live longer and happier lives in general. Maybe instead of having chemicals sprayed up our noses, we should be facilitated in meeting up with our autistic peers. Maybe that, and being accepted as we are, is the only “treatment” we need.
The quoted paragraph was only one small part of the chapter on oxytocin. And on the whole the rest of the book is quite good and I’m not about to bin it or anything. But it still depresses me that I can’t find books on topics I’m interested in that don’t exhibit this type of casual anti-autistic bias. It really does taint them for me.
I really wish that anyone who writes the word “autism” anywhere in their book would just think a bit more carefully about what they actually believe about autistic people. And maybe even go and talk to some of us!
I had a bit of a health crisis/meltdown/shutdown and set this blog to Private as it was either that or delete it and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that. Glad I didn’t make that rash decision. But also glad I took some time out of blogging. I’ve set it to Public again, now that I’m ready to face the world again.
I have also permanently deleted my Facebook page, so apologies to those who liked it. Facebook is just such a toxic place and I’m glad I left and don’t think I’ll ever go back. Unfortunately deleting Facebook also deletes Messenger. So if you want to contact me, best to just leave a comment on this blog.
I’m not sure how much writing I’m going to be doing for the moment. I still have little to no energy and need to rest up. But I also want to share the random musings of my mind from time to time! So be aware of sporadic content for the next while.
Thank you to everyone who still reads my blog and who contacts me. I do like the sense of community and the company. I missed you all!
I’m not going to be able to continue with this challenge. Having too much of a pain and exhaustion flare up. Even writing these few sentences hurt my hands and take so much out of me. Going to have to take a break from blogging even though it pains me mentally to do so. It pains me too much physically to continue though.
So that’s it for now. Stay safe and see you later.