A Note About Autism

The Miracle Modus was written largely because I wanted a thing like this to exist, because it solves a problem I have.

Being autistic has had a lot of very interesting effects on my life, some positive, some not so positive. This app is an attempt to create something which will help at least some people with a problem that many of us have.

Note that this app is not a medical device, it's not something that has been checked with the FDA, or anything like that. It will not "cure" autism". It may help some autistic people handle a common problem we have, that being sensory overload. It won't help everyone; autism is a spectrum, not a single trait that's the same in everyone, and not all autistic people find the same things soothing or even tolerable.

If you do find this soothing, a few other things that I find soothing for reasons which seem similar to me are:

Autism, Advocacy, and Resources

The big thing I want to stress is: I have never yet met an autistic person who does not loathe Autism Speaks. They are a large organization devoted primarily to raising money which can be used to run campaigns to raise more money, and secondarily to eliminating autism. The making money part only bothers me a little; it does take resources away from entities which are doing things which might improve life for autistic people and their families, after all. However, the second part is what bugs me a lot, because the fact is, autism is a matter of identity for a lot of us, and being told that people like us are not an acceptable part of the world, and the world will be a better place when we are eliminated, tends to be displeasing.

If you are looking for things to do to support autistic people and help them get the resources and support they need to succeed, Autistic Self-Advoacy Network (ASAN) is a pretty cool group of people. Not all of them are autistic, but many are, and they do not exclude autistic people or their families from their work.

Person-First Language

People occasionally complain that "autistic" is an insulting word, and I should use "person with autism". My usual response to this is unprintable. While it is entirely possible that there are autistic people who don't feel the way I do on this issue, I have never yet met anyone who is autistic and does not find so-called "person-first language" (PFL) offensive. Autism is not some kind of extra thing separate from me; it's an aspect of what it is to be me. A thing which is like what I would be if I weren't autistic wouldn't be me, it'd be someone else.

The nominal rationale for PFL is to create an awareness that autistics are people, too. Now, stop and think for a moment: What does it say about a class of people if you have to use special language to remember that they are people? It says you would otherwise not think they were people. Without that starting point of viewing autistics as a diagnosis without a person, there is simply no reason for PFL to exist in the first place. And the way communication works (the search term is "Gricean Maxims" if you want to know more) is that people know that you wouldn't say something if it weren't in doubt, in general. So every time PFL is used, it creates in listeners the slight unconscious impression that the personhood of autistics is, or ought to be, in doubt.

There is a second way in which this language is destructive, which is that it creates a separation between the autistic person and the autism. The organization most active in promoting PFL, Autism Speaks, has a long history of propaganda which portrays autism as a thing which replaces the child you could have loved or wanted with some kind of horrible monster. This language plays into that view of things.

But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself. Experiment a bit with a few phrases like "person with femaleness" or "person with blackness". Talk to people about how challenging it will be for them raising their child with femaleness, or how upsetting it must have been for them when their child was diagnosed with femaleness. Express hope that some day there will be a cure for femaleness, so parents won't have to suffer anymore. Do this for a while, and see how people react. (Rumor has it that some persons with femaleness are actually able to communicate haltingly with the aid of a gendertypical person to help them translate, so you might even be able to ask them what they think of it!)

So, yeah. I am not using that language. I find it highly offensive, and I do not personally believe that the harmful effects of that language are in anyway unintentional or accidental.

The Vaccine Thing

Vaccines do not cause autism, and there was never any legitimate evidence that they did. There was a single paper which purported to show a link, and it was an elaborate fraud. Patients who were included in the study have since stated that the claims made about their cases contradict what they told the person creating the paper, and he failed to disclose that he had a patent on a proposed competing drug formulation.

The real issue here is that thousands of people have now died from trivially-preventable illnesses because terrified parents who don't know anything about how science works are continuing to be afraid that maybe there will be side-effects from vaccination.

There was never anything to this. It was not legitimate science, it was not corroborated, and immense amounts of time and money have been wasted trying to find the alleged link, only to consistently find no link whatsoever. Please take a bit of time to investigate this. If you're not comfortable with the medical terminology and commentary, talk to someone you trust who has qualifications in the field, get educated, and help eradicate this myth before we lose even more kids to epidemics of diseases we had effectively eradicated ten or fifteen years ago.

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