December 21, 2004

Who Are You?

How much of you could be taken away and still leave you, you? What changes could be made without altering your basic persona?

We were in Jerusalem today, having a family get together for lunch, and while there my dh stopped at a kiosk and bought me a newspaper for my 7th/8th grade English class. One article dealt with a newly emerging culture...the emerging Autistic/Aspergers culture.

Now I've heard of deaf culture, I can get my head around blind culture (though I haven't heard of such a thing) but this kind of threw me. Is being autistic not something to cure or treat but simply to learn to deal with? Should autistic children be taught to look people in the eye or to allow normal contact with others? Should they be brought out of their shell, or as

...some advocates contend that autism is an integral part of their identities, much more like a skin than a shell, and not one they care to shed.

and as those who run the ANI site state:

Autistic people have characteristically autistic styles of relating to others, which should be respected and appreciated rather than modified to make them "fit in."

This really isn't about autism, or taking sides on the issue. I'm just now becoming familiar with the "other side".

We are all a little funky. whether we are autistic or neurotypical, hearing or deaf, no matter what we are, we are all a bit different from the person next to us in some way, some form.

We are, none of us, typical. We are, all of us, connected to many various groups who can be identified by a, or a group of, characteristics.

So at what point does the loss of a particular characteristic change a person into another being?

If I woke up tomorrow and I had grown three feet, would I still be me? Much would change (besides no longer fitting into my clothes) How would that change
the inner me? What if, before I was born, my parents could have "corrected" me for shortness. How much of who I am would be gone?

We can never know. and yet does that mean we should not try and eliminate what are known as disorders and diseases?

It is all a guessing game; who knows? Perhaps, without aspergers/autisim, we would eliminate future Einsteins from our midst. Or maybe we would make it easier for the Einsteins in the world to relate to the rest of the world.

Posted by Rachel Ann at December 21, 2004 08:18 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?