Content warning: This post is about sentiments leading to murder of people with disabilities. Proceed with caution.
At an autism conference recently, I heard the father of a 20 year old autistic man say in his speech to the whole conference, “I hope to live one heartbeat longer than he does. I’m sure many of you feel the same way about your children.”
That sentiment gets people killed. If you are the parent of a disabled child and you say things like this, it is a matter of life-and-death importance that you stop talking this way. The father who said this is probably entirely correct that many of the other parents in the audience felt the same way. I have heard this sentiment expressed by many other parents of children with disabilities (not just autism.)
Parents who hope to outlive their autistic children are talking about people who, barring tragedy, will almost certainly outlive their parents. Autism does not limit lifespan; most autistic people should live to be old. If you hope to outlive your autistic child, it means that you are hoping that their life will be tragically cut short. It means you think they’re better off dead than they would be living without you. That’s dangerous.
It’s not true. Nobody is better off dead. It is not a blessing to die young. Expressing a desire for someone to die young is not love. (People who say this may well love their children in other ways, but this sentiment is not love.)
Please stop implying that your child will be unable to live and be happy after you die. People just like your child live on in adulthood after their parents die, and your child can too. And they will have a much easier time of it if you accept that they will outlive you, and help them to prepare for their life without you.
The only way it’s likely to live a heartbeat longer than your autistic child is if you kill them and then yourself. Many parents who feel this way do exactly that. And, even if you would never kill your child, people who are considering committing murder can hear what you say. If you say that you hope to live a heartbeat longer than your child, it makes the murder that is the only way this can plausibly happen seem like a much more legitimate choice. Don’t give potential murders that kind of encouragement.
In the disability community, we observe a day of mourning and read a list of people with disabilities murdered by caregivers.
The list is long. And it’s only a list of the names we know. There are many others who died without making the news.
I hope and pray that your child never ends up on this list. I hope and pray that they outlive you and have a happy and meaningful adulthood. I hope and pray that this list never gets any longer.
One murder is too many. Not ever again.
Under the cut is the (as of this post) current list of the names we know. In loving memory; may these murders be the last:
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that psychiatrists cannot reliably tell the difference between people who are mentally stable and those who are mentally unstable.
8 mentally stable people were granted admission into 12 different hospitals. They all told the same story of how they would hear a voice inside their head, it was unclear but often said “empty”, “hollow” and “thud”.
Right after they were admitted, the patients stopped showing any signs of abnormality. They took part in activities and talked to faculty and other patients as they would normally.
None of the psychiatrists ever stopped to say “I think they are getting better” or “they seem absolutely fine now” In fact, nurses and psychiatrists took normal activity such as walking or writing and attempted to represent it as a form of pathological behavior.
For example, staff would point to patients waiting outside the lunchroom as a form of oral-acquisitive syndrome, when really they were just bored and were anticipating their meal.
It’s interesting to note that even though staff didn’t recognize that these people were completely fine, patients recognized that they didn’t seem to have any problems.
This study highlights how powerful labels can be.
Wow…this also potentially bespeaks how the people who are charged with making these patients better are only trying to create terminology and atmosphere that keep them institutionalized.
That’s pretty disturbing.
To anyone saying “well they said they heard voices obviously the doctors are going to look at them with a weary eye”
You missed the point.
They were supposed to detect the patients getting better and instead of being able to tell that, they took any action that the patients performed and totally distorted it and blew it to epic proportions to make them seem completely and utterly abnormal to a point where the patients were institutionalized for months.
Also, sixpenceee, you missed the second part to this experiment - equally chilling, in my opinion. One hospital’s administration was angered by Rosenhan’s experiment, and challenged him to send impostor patients - mentally stable people masquerading as mentally unstable people - to their facilities. Their staff would then turn those pseudopatients away. Long story short, Rosenhan OK’d this part of the experiment. 193 people went to that hospital in that experiment period looking for help. They flagged 41 people as impostors and had doubts about another 42.
Rosenhan sent no one.
The staff of this hospital flagged impostor patients where none had existed.
That’s really worrying…
This is terrifying
I think some of the commentary here is spot on; other parts of it not so much.
The terrifying thing at the heart of this is that institutions exist at all and that it is considered okay to subject anyone to that treatment, not that a person without disabilities could mistakenly be put in an institution.
I think this experiment was important because it shows how psychiatric staff can and will pathologize anything that inmates do (and their treatment of the abled inmates in the experiment will not be written off as deserved), but it is terrible that institutionalization has to happen to an abled person before most people will pay attention.It also shows psychiatric labels and judgments as being based on pretty much nothing, which is important for people to understand. (Yes, there are mental health disabilities, and some of what the psychiatric system says about them is accurate - but the way the system is set up, anything can be called pathological, and “treated”/punished, just because the system says so. Case in point, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Not everything labeled as a psychiatric disorder is actually a disability, and people with the conditions that are actually disabilities do not deserve the treatment that being psychiatrized gets them.)Regardless of setting, disabled people are pathologized.
i liked when i ruined scarlet witch for everyone :)
Even if you’re joking, it’s not funny.
Because it’s not like women are constantly abused and punished in narratives all the time. Especially women who are deemed softer and more maternal. Especially not powerful women.
You essentially took an Avengers staple, arguably the most powerful mutant in existence, and made her unstable. You wiped her memory and toyed with her autonomy. You toyed with mental illness tropes in a harmful way. You did nothing original with mental illness, including showing mentally ill persons as dangerous and unsafe for society, except, you know, as being victims of violence, which statistically is far, far, more likely to happen.
So, yeah, keep joking. You’re hilarious. And the more you speak about things like this the more respect I lose for you.
Don’t forget, this is the man in charge of Marvel.
It’s bullshit- of course we can be racist, just like everyone else! I’ve seen racism in autistic communities directed at autistic people of color, it’s not as if making the person we’re interacting with not autistic makes us suddenly unable to be racist.
Folks will sometimes say we’re protected from cultural bullshit for whatever reason, but Autistic people are not immune from picking up cultural bigotry of any sort, including racism.
The assumption that we are immune to that kind of thing is a sort of “positive” stereotype based on either purity (ew) or isolation from those around us (also ew.)
Neurotypical privilege is saying that non autistic people are better at telling when someone is autistic than actually autistic people are.
Sociology, Sarah Lawrence College.
Unsound Bodies and Insane Minds: Representations of Physical and Intellectual Disabilities in Classic and Postmodern Horror Films
|—||Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls (via born-of-stardust)|
Boy might have been in cage during autism outbursts only
My heart goes out to this boy, we are not animals and should not be treated as such, this is just horrifying
I really hate when allistic/neurotypical people say things like “Normal is a setting on a washing machine.”
When in reality it’s more like “Normal is a great way to get a job and have your contributions to society recognized and not get murdered for existing.”