I had an epiphany while watching an incredible documentary on “Refrigerator Mothers”; moms of autistic children from the 60s+70s who were blamed for their child’s autism.. and the strain and pain it caused them through the decades.
of course they’re nurturing and loving mothers; the guy who came up with the refrigerator mother theory was pretty much “The Autism Expert” so there wasn’t anybody to question him for a very long time. And – he was wrong.
At the same time, as I was watching these older mothers interact with their adult autistic children, I realized something: It’s not that the autistic people were mindblind, couldn’t read emotions, etc – the problem was that people who have been brought up and believe in such a thing as “normal” CAN’T READ THEM.
It was a flip-flop in my brain. In other words, it’s fine if one wants to try to socialize autistic children but in the end, the flaw isn’t with the autistic people, the flaw is with the society who tries to make them fit in so that we can predict their thoughts and behaviors… because then they’ll be following patterns that society knows, understands, expects.
ie – autism is primarily a social disorder, not a medical one.
I knew that already, but watching the mothers who have been trying to reach out to their children for decades were really reaching out to want their children to behave in a manner that they, the mother’s, could comprehend and understand the social clues of.
That’s not a bad thing; I’m not criticizing it at all. But now I’m certain the fault lies in the training we all receive when we’re young… and more and more things really are what I suspected for years; social problems, not medical problems. Not life or death. Not dangerous. Just…not following expected patterns of behavior.