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Ignorance equals Prejudice and Discrimination for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Mental Health Problems (written 2009)

 It seems to be a well known fact that people with forms of Autistic Spectrum Disorders face terrible ignorance from the general public. They suffer from verbal and sometimes even physical abuse from members of the public who pre- judge them. The reason the general public pre-judge people with ASD’s is because of the way they act due to their disability.

 

I have got quite a bit of cyber bullying through social networking sites. I don’t like it as they say hurtful things to me. I am expected to just cope with the nasty comments that they say to me.

 

We get accused of things that we haven’t even done because of the way we act. When I have retaliated to the cruelty I face it has always been my fault.

 

I think that we should legally highlight the ignorance of the public. There are a lot of Brookdale clients living within the Huntingdonshire community either in residential homes, their own flats or the low secure hospital. They have to access the local community for essentials, entertainment and social activities. I have seen and experienced many examples of the general public’s ignorance when it comes to Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Mental Health Problems.

 

If we were in a wheelchair or had a physical disability that was visible then we would get at least a bit of sympathy. It comes down to the fact that no one can see inside the human mind. The definition of ignorance is ‘if you can’t see the problem then it doesn’t exist or it doesn’t matter’. Well I’m afraid that is completely the wrong attitude to have about ASD’s and Mental Health Problems. I don’t feel that society as a whole can afford to bury its head in the sand anymore. I have a fear that until the general public’s attitude changes towards invisible disabilities then we will never have a happy and peaceful life. The general public aren't able to experience the social/sensory challenges associated with ASDs.

 

I have made social mistakes that ended up having a long term affect on my life. It is all part of growing up but when you are diagnosed with a disorder other people make a major issue out of tiny mishaps. I find that the general public have a way of making everything we do ten times worse. The lack of understanding is beyond a joke at this moment in time.

 

People diagnosed with ASD’s aren’t able to change but the neuro typicals can adapt to their behaviour. Unfortunately we can’t force the neuro typicals to accept social naïve behaviour.

 

When this country chose to let it’s citizens have freedom of speech we also opened a huge can of worms that allowed individuals to display their ignorance freely. At that time none of the people around then knew what issues would arise in the future because of the introduction of freedom of speech. There are individuals that have become collective groups with extremist views. I have had experience with those groups of the general public which think that anyone with ASD’s (or other disabilities) should be exterminated. I don’t know what makes them feel they have the right to say that. They probably aren't perfect themselves. In fact they have proven that they aren't perfect with their attitude against people whom are different. How would they like it if the tables were to turn? They wouldn't like it if we said that we thought they should be exterminated would they? It is quite hurtful when the shoe is on the other foot.  

 

Stereotypical attitudes are harmful in today’s society as much as they've always been. A prime example of this is that some of the general public think that just because someone is in a residential home that they are too dangerous to live in their own home or with members of their family. That is complete ignorance at its worse. It can be like that but not in all cases.

 

In my case I made a conscious decision to go into residential care at 18. I wasn’t dangerous. I wasn’t even a violent natured person. I knew it was a way of becoming myself and it would give me a break from looking after my disabled Dad. I’m not dangerous in any way. I can’t even win a fight as I’m normally the one who gets hurt. It’s like me having a stereotypical view that all neuro typicals get drunk every weekend and rely on alcohol to have a great night out. I know that some of them would find that very insulting if they didn’t behave like that stereotypical view. It’s the same for me and others who aren’t violent on the Autistic Spectrum.

 

I've personally had enough of the ignorance I face being an individual with Aspergers Syndrome. I know that sooner or later the general public’s attitude has to change before serious problems arise in society. I can now see why people with ASD’s and Mental Health Problems get violent as it is seriously frustrating dealing with the attitude the general public have towards us.

 

We are all humans that have the ability to do stupid things in desperation if others push us hard enough. All humans have emotions and feelings which includes people with ASD’s. If you hurt anyone’s feelings of course they are going to retaliate because it’s human nature. The people with ASD’s aren’t going to retaliate like neuro typicals. Their reactions to cruelty fuels the fire of this prejudice and ignorance that we face. I think that because neuro typicals have empathy skills they should be the ones to meet us half way. They have no idea how lucky they really are to have skills that individuals like myself can only dream of possessing. The neuro typicals don’t have to deal with the challenges we have to just so that we are able to get through each day. They take it for granted what we’ll never be able to ever do. We only want a bit of understanding from the general public and hopefully the small adaptations to peoples attitudes will amount to a huge positive adaptation in society one day in the years to come.