02 April 2008

More bullshit

In case you weren't aware, today is World Autism Awareness Day.

Just another round of bullshit perpetuated by society to explain away and/or justify incompetence and lack of moral character. Sure, there are people with major developmental disabilities, who actually cannot survive without outside care, and some of them can be classified as "autistic" as that word is defined. The 'autism' which piques my ire is the so-called 'higher functioning autism', which in reality is a diagnosis looking for a patient, or a psychiatric professional scrounging for an inflated paycheck.

I know this from cold, hard personal experience.

When I was a youth, I had severe discipline and moral integrity problems. To sum it up without elaborating too much, this was caused by nothing more than my desire to be an asshole, because it felt good at the time, due to my ponderous lack of character. (Sounds a lot like a thug, doesn't it?) These behavioral 'issues' - actually grave character flaws - were 'diagnosed' by several psychiatric professionals as high functioning autism, specifically a fictional concoction which I will not name here since I have no desire to advertise an invention of dickheadery. This 'disorder' is allegedly a moderate to severe social interaction handicap to those who are so 'afflicted', which cannot be treated (except, supposedly, with expensive anti-depressant drugs and the like, which do absolutely nothing except fatten the wallets of the pharmaceutical industry), and is slated to doom its victims to a life of poverty or as a disability pensioner.

When I finally graduated from school (somehow I was miraculously able to do so without being arrested or institutionalized beforehand - that's good old public school social promotion at work), and actually had to find a way to support myself as an independent adult (my parents making it quite clear that this was not ever going to be their responsibility), magically my 'disorder' ceased to assert itself and I was somehow able to take care of myself, find and retain full time employment, and interact with others without incident.

Wow, it's a miracle! Jesus saves!!

Actually, no.

I had learned by that time, after many years spent as a social and moral reject, that irresponsible behavior and inability to control one's demeanor does not lead to decent paying work (I also learned this due to no small amount of tough love from parents and teachers - thank the fates for them). Thankfully for myself, unlike the average ghetto thug I managed with my slight intelligence (which is doing better than most thugs) to make the conceptual connection that wanton thuggery = poverty, starvation, and death. And now this possible life course was staring me down in the face.

So I got my act together and shaped up.

And today I am steadily employed, not making the kind of money I would like but enough to get by. The years of youthful thug behavior have eliminated my chances for ever joining the middle class, but at least I still have a shot at a modicum of success.

So if I actually had a 'disorder', did it suddenly disappear overnight, when I received my diploma? Does 'high functioning autism' magically cure itself once the age of maturity is reached?

Or did the 'disorder' ever exist in the first place?

I notice that we are always hearing in the media about autistic youth - but we never seem to encounter any autistic adults.

Verrry interesting.....