Asperger Syndrome and the need for Social Justice – Could Autism be benefiting our society?


A feature of Asperger’s syndrome that can be advantageous to society is a concern with social justice and discrimination against minority groups.

This can sometimes be strikingly developed in Asperger’s cases, often because of their characteristic impatience with conventional hypocrisy and publicly accepted double standards (not to mention the fact that they sometimes feel the victims of discrimination themselves).

Modern societies have canonized such concerns in law and public attitudes, and a number of famous campaigners for equal rights and social justice have been posthumously proposed as Asperger’s cases.

Autistics tend to be loners, who are poor at participating in group activities of the kind that exploit social justice and anti-discrimination sentiment for self-serving political and social advantage.

Modern authorities on autism have described autistics as “truth-tellers” and, thanks to their bottom-up, devil-in-the-detail style of cognition, are often the first to see that the emperor has no clothes or that the great idol has feet of clay.

Furthermore, they are also likely to be the ones to blurt out the truth, and draw attention to the inconvenient fact, irrespective of what others may think.

I do believe that autistic antagonism to lies and deception of all kinds is not only the most redeeming feature of the so-called disorder, but one which autism shares increasingly with modern societies—and very much to their benefit.” Original Article by Christopher Badcock

I have often wondered whether or not the world would be a much better, fairer place, if it were being run by people who felt a burning need for social justice… aka…Aspies.

The above abstract is from a much larger article by Christopher Badcock which makes some strikingly good points regarding the ways in which the strengths of those with Asperger’s could be put to good use within our societies.

So what do you think?

Have your say on whether or not you think the world be a better, fairer place if it were being run by Aspies in the comment section below.

First do no harm…… An Oath Every Psychologist Should Under Take.


We’ve all heard of  the good old-fashioned Hippocratic oath of “First Do No Harm” that medical doctors must swear by, but do psychologists also swear by such an oath?

After all, they do insist on calling themselves doctors of psychology do they not?

And they are as equally capable of causing harm to their patients by misdiagnosing them as medical doctors are, aren’t they?

They diagnose conditions such as  Depression,  Autism, ADHD, OCD,  and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders along with a whole string of other conditions.

Psychologists are involved in the nomination of those mental health conditions which form the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) which medical practitioners use.

They are also amongst the first to refer patients on to psychiatrists for more serious mental health conditions such as Bi-Polar disorder or schizophrenia.

They are fast becoming part of the front line when it comes to addressing issues relating to child protection cases and now form a key part of court injunction processes on behalf of the state.

Every school now has a school psychologist on staff.

In short, psychologists,  their assessments and their reporting processes, are becoming more and more synonymous with the routine actions of many of the social structures and institutions that we use everyday.

As such, perhaps it’s time that we as a society began requiring the same oath from our so-called Doctor‘s of the Mind, that we require from our Medical Doctor‘s of the body.

I’d say that the understanding that psychologists should  “First Do No Harm” would be an excellent place for today’s psychology to start from.

Wouldn’t you?






Sterilization whose decision is it? The fine line that parents of teenagers and young adults with severe cognitive disabilities must walk between honoring their childs human rights or committing ‘acts of violence’.


A  new Senate inquiry into the sterilization of people with disabilities is reigniting a decades old debate within Australia.

One of the key questions this inquiry will be asking is whether or not anybody has the right to choose sterilization as a valid option for another person?

Especially if that other person doesn’t have the capacity to speak for themselves.

In one of my previous posts I explored the ways in which the very distinct form of language used to frame and dictate the parameters considered valid within the sterilization debate, act as  gate keepers of thought, preventing even the most liberal or fair-minded of us from being able to make any clear distinctions as to just whom these laws should and should not apply too and how.

To which I stated:

Most of us agree that disability or not, there are certain human rights that are, or at the very least should be, considered mandatory for all human beings.” The Techniques of Bias.

I still stand by this statement however,  I would seek to question just when it is that the human rights that we consider to be indelible and at all times in the best interests of those involved, cross the line into becoming inhumane rights?

Parents of teenagers and young adults with severe cognitive disabilities, particularly those with girls/young women are facing what can only be described as a double-edged sword that is continually slicing away at them within this debate.

The example I gave in my previous post in ‘the-‘techniques-of-bias, regarding a loving family who had requested sterilization for their severely cognitively disabled daughter, and had been knocked back three times by the Guardianship Board, find themselves once again in the firing line within this debate.

They are being held up and accused once again of trying to steal their daughters human rights away from her by requesting that she be sterilized.

Yet no matter how cold heartedly these parents are being portrayed by those who wish to abolish the ability of parents to request sterilization on behalf of their severely cognitively disabled children , I know that the idea of sterilizing their daughter for sterilization’s sake, is absolutely the last thing that these parents wish to engage in.

They don’t want to have to be a part of this fight.

They just want to do what is right for their daughter.

Far from seeking to remove their daughter’s human rights by applying to have her sterilized, they perceive themselves as trying to add to their daughters human rights by giving her the best opportunity of improving the quality of her every day life.

As parents, they want nothing but the best quality of life for their severely disabled, 6 foot tall and incredibly physically mobile 20-year-old daughter, who has a disintegrative developmental disorder similar to that of  severe autism.

Although 20 years of age, her cognitive acuity hovers somewhere around that of  a 2-year-old.

She is non-verbal and requires 24 hour constant care.

For this family, achieving the best quality of life for their daughter, means alleviating the stress and the trauma that she experiences every time she menstruates.

Fortunately, most of  us are not faced with having to help a 2-year-old in a twenty year old’s body who becomes so highly distressed during her periods that she regularly engages in acts of self harm whenever she menstruates.

For these parents however, such acts include their daughter trying to eat her own sanitary pads, smearing her menstrual blood all over her body, face and home,throwing herself at walls, bashing her head repeatedly against the toilet bowl at the sight of her own menstrual blood, and becoming so highly agitated and hysterical that medication is required to calm her down.

Speaking out publicly about their situation they state that “as parents they have tried several less invasive options to try and prevent their daughter from menstruating including two different forms of contraceptive pills, implants,  and  a menstrual management program, all with “disastrous results”.

Her mother states that “the moodiness caused by the contraceptive pills we’d tried only further exacerbated our daughters anguish….. we’ve had broken furniture, scars from where she’s scratched and bitten us, and my other daughter had a whole clump of hair pulled out of her head”.

“No one should have to feel as angry as my daughter does and put up with having those side effects from medications. I just can’t imagine putting her through this for another 30 or 40 years.”

“To me, that’s cruel”.

“That’s inhumane”.

“There is just no dignity in any of this for our daughter. She doesn’t understand what’s happening to her and (having her period)   is stopping her from being able to enjoy those things in life that she would usually be able to enjoy.”

Both parents therefore viewed sterilization as their last and only hope of enabling their daughter to retain both her dignity and her quality of life and stated that being “knocked back by the Guardianship Board for this procedure has left their entire family traumatized.”

“Unless you have lived in this situation you don’t really understand it”.

“I just think it’s wrong that people can vilify you, criticize you and judge you,  when they don’t really know what it’s about unless they have walked in your shoes”.

“Any decisions we make about our daughter are about making her already incredibly difficult life easier for her. It’s not about us. It has never been about us”.

This mother’s bravery in once again speaking up and asking that her own daughters human rights be considered on an individual and a ‘what’s best for the person concerned’  approach, indicates that there must be room made within any legislation regarding this issue, that addresses the very complex and complicated issue of cognitive disabilities.

Especially considering that many within the disability community and activist groups view the sterilization of people with disabilities as “an act of  violence amounting to both torture and a form of eugenics designed to do nothing more than improve the human race” (Frohmander 2013).

When spoken about in these terms, sterilization becomes seen as “an abuse of a man or a woman’s fundamental human rights” (Frohmander 2013).

Given the terrifying history of sterilizing all people with any form of disability that has in the past, held sway, I can well understand why many in the disability community are pushing for a ban on the sterilization of any person with a disability within this latest Senate inquiry.

However, I do questions, especially given the situations of the parents I’ve outlined above, whether or not, in all cases, a parent requesting sterilization for the betterment of their child’s life, must always be seen as being equal to either “abuse” or “committing an act of violence” against their child?

As it stands in Australia right now, it is possible for a third-party, either a Guardianship and Administration board, or the Family Law Court, to legally uphold a parents request to have their teenager or young adult sterilized.

Given that there is a mountain of legality involved in making such a request the decision to press forward with any request of this kind is not one that is made  lightly by the  parents of teenagers or young adults with any form of disability, let alone a severe cognitive disability in which the body, for all intents and purposes is seen to “function normally”.

Yet this is no longer an issue that revolves solely around the rights of those with physical disabilities or mild intellectual disabilities, who can speak for themselves and whom I thoroughly agree must have every right to make their own decisions about each and every aspect of both their bodies and their lives, but it is also an issue that must enable those so endowed with making any final decisions on behalf of those with severe cognitive disabilities, the capacity to treat each request for sterilization, from a person centred, best outcomes approach,that encompasses a greater understanding and awareness of the needs, and therefore a broader understanding of what it is that encompasses the human rights of every  individual that comes before them, regardless of the form that individuals disability takes.

I’m yet to be convinced that we should be seeking to treat this very serious issue as if it were a one size fits all dilemma capable of being fixed by a one size fits all piece of blanket legislation?

What do you think?

Free Form Human Beings ……………Life In The Androgynous Zone


Do you ever just sometimes want to be able to walk out into the world, not as a gendered being, but simply as a human being?

A human being that isn’t defined by the otherwise hidden credentials harboured between your legs?

The very credentials that have become such important aspects in shaping both our place in the world and whether or not we are deemed to “fit” successfully within it?

I must admit that some days, as a woman, I long for the sanctuary of androgyny.

To be able to move freely amidst the sea of other human beings without the minds of others making automatic assumptions about me simply because of my gender.

Sometimes I just want to go out into the world as the person that is me. No if’s, and’s or but’s, just plain old me.

I’m not sure whether this desire to be viewed as gender neutral is something that’s becoming stronger  within me as I age, or whether it has more to do with constantly  feeling at odds with a world that endlessly seeks to tell me who I am and how I should be.

Whatever the reason, I feel the personal need to strike out against the ideological constraints too often placed on women in our society.

Not in a violent aggressive way, but in a silently self-contained  way.

A way that reflects who I am, not who I am told I ought to be.

More and more often, I find that I am drawn to wearing hats that conceal my hair, scarves that conceal my neck, long coats that conceal my body and tall boots the visually eradicate  the curve of my legs.

These items of clothing, I am discovering, are becoming my own modern version of a personal Burqaa.

A mailable barrier that creates a material shield which encapsulates me when I’m out in public, in a way that I find, comforting.

Liberating even.

In the past I’d heard Muslim women claim that they derive a sense of liberation from choosing to wear their Burqaa’s.

For years my western sensibilities denied the truth of such claims. After all, I reasoned, how can anyone feel free when they’re being forced to cover themselves up night and day for the benefit of others?

Of course the point I’d missed within it all was that the women making such claims were choosing to wear their Burqaa’s/ Hijab.

Now when I think about the concept of the Burqaa, sitting as it now does alongside my own desire to move about the world un-gendered and un-encumbered by all of the stereotypes that gender brings, I can appreciate and begin to understand how it may indeed hold liberating effects for women.

So now instead of wondering  why it is that anyone would want to cover up their gender, I find myself questioning why it is that our Western societies have taken something as personal and as intimate as gender and turned it into a trademark.

A trademark that has become both the stamp of admission and the marker of denial framed within the fine print on the passports that we all must carry in order to obtain our human rights.

A passport that for too many now offers up the personal judgements, condemnations and un-warranted rules and regulations that seek to constrain personal freedoms instead of ensuring them.

Perhaps if we stopped placing  gender at the centre of our being and instead re-instated our humanity, in all of its colors, shapes and diversity, as the single most important qualifier for accessing human rights, then all the division, intolerance, discrimination and hatred that has established itself so firmly within our world,  could be dissolved overnight?

Wishful thinking I know.

But some days it seems to me that if we removed all of the superficial and socially constructed constraints of gender from the passport of our humanity, we’d all be just that little bit closer to actually being free.

Free from banning girls from going to school.

Free from bullying young boys and girls for existing somewhere outside of the lines of a predefined gendered stereotyped way of being.

Free from having to try and delineate the terms under which love is legal.

Free from the weight of living in what is fast becoming a too unrealistic and overly sexualized world for our children.

I don’t know about you, but I for one think this world could be a wondrous place if we simply just let ourselves and others be free.

Free Form Human Beings. That sounds good to me.


Ignore them and they’ll go away……A Dangerous Response to a growing social problem….

The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get

The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been reading  a few blog post that have really got me thinking about the way we treat other people in this world and the lists of  justifications we use  for doing so.

I think in a lot of ways, the views we have of ourselves, dictate the views and actions we  practice towards others.

The thing is, I’m not entirely sure this is a particularly good way of going about things.

Take for example the view that if someone does something that YOU do not like, then YOU should ignore them until they go away.

As a result of this line of thinking, a lot of people have commented that the best way to defeat “evil” or “negative actions”, is to ignore those who  commit them.

To many, this way of thinking involves  making sure that the stories behind the actions of “wrong doers” receives no ‘air time‘  either within the media or society itself.

Don’t talk about them,

Don’t mention them,

Don’t let yourself for one minute even consider how such unimaginable actions might have occurred int the first place.

Focus only on the victims and the perpetrators will go way.

After all, isn’t that what current conventional wisdom dictates?

That  if a person committing an aberrant  action is not given any attention, then that person will either go away (note there does not seem to be a particularly large amount of thought going into just how that person should go away)  or change their actions into something considered more favorable by society.

The thing about all of this is, well, what if the person has already been treated negatively by others all of their life for the very same reasons?

What if  it’s the very idea that you should ignore someone whose actions or behaviors  do not fit in with YOUR own world view, that has caused that person to further respond badly toward others?

What if being ignored all the time just because they are different, is the very thing that feeds the fire within those who go out and commit acts of violent crimes towards others?

What then?

I know a lot of people are currently running with the adage ‘that if you don’t feed the flames  the fire  will eventually snuff itself out…..


People aren’t fires or flames, or whatever other analogy you’d like to use .

And I do worry that this idea that we should automatically ignore those who are different or not behaving in ways that we either understand or consider to be positive, is a dangerous one.

Especially when it comes to acknowledging the reality that  those with conditions such as Autism or  Mental Health Disorders, already often live in a world in which their behaviors, and as a consequence of this, their personhood‘s, are routinely being looked down upon or ignored by others.

So how are such people to react to the adage that ,”if you don’t feed the flames, the fire will snuff itself out.”

If you don’t pay attention to those behaving negatively or in ways that you cannot comprehend…….

They will……


Give up?

Go away?

Live a life of isolation?

Or eventually just snuff themselves out…..?

I’m sorry, and please forgive me, but isn’t this practice of ostracizing others because YOU do not like their behavior,  the exact same belief pattern that has already made those who are different in any way, feel like outcasts within their own communities?

I don’t know about any body else….. but to me….. the use of this whole mindset of ” ignore them and they will go away”,  as a justification for  not dealing with or attempting to understand those who are different within our society, far from posing any form of solution,  just seems to be feeding the bigger problem of intolerance.

Besides, whatever happened to the good old-fashioned saying that “all that is necessary for evil prospers is for good men do nothing?”

Isn’t it time we did something?

Isn’t ignoring the problem exactly the same scenario as “good men doing nothing?”


I Am A Sister of Four, A Mother of Three, A Daugher of Two, Yet Still Only Me.

26426_386870161230_642051230_4525330_57676_nI am,

A sister of four,

A mother of three,

A daughter of two,

Yet still I am me.

Loved and adored,

Kicked and abhorred,

Fenced in and shut out,

Pushed forward,

Drowned out,

Married, Divorced,

Owned and disowned,

Being a sister of four,

A mother of three,

And a daughter of two,

Has in no way,

Saved me.

Though I have played by the rules,

Lived by the law,

Still somehow I’ve found myself,

Just as bought and sold,

As the women of yore,

Though perhaps in a singularly,

More sleight of hand,


Yet at the end of the day,

This sister of four,

Mother of three,

Daughter of two,

Is still only me.

Living a life,

Being played out,

Through the hidden rules,

Of an unseen game,

In which my children are mine,

Yet at the same time,

By some twist of law,

Not mine at all,

Though born from my body,

They bare a man’s name.

The only prerequisite,

For the staking of claims.

So though I am a sister of four,

A mother of three,

A daughter of two,

It seems I can only lay claim,

To  just being me.

This is why,

When the world tries to tell me,

That as a sister, a mother,  a daughter,

I am responsible for everyone,


At all points in time,

I cast aside my roles and my guilt,

And remember,

That such titles are too easily laid bare,

By the logic of others,

Though we are taught to revere them,

They are merely the false claims.

Of a non-existent grandeur,

 Descriptive labels,

Mo different to those of,

Tinker, Tailor, Sailor,

Sister, mother, daughter,

And even though I am still a sister of four,

A mother of three,

A daughter of two,

All that I really am,

Is just me.


The Name Game….. How do you refer to yourself when asked? Is it by Occupation, Social Status, Married, Single, Full time Mother, Stay at Home Mother, Father, Student or None of the Above?

How we define ourselves, the labels we use and the accompanying social judgments that ride along with our choice of words, speak volumes about how we are positioned in society.

I think for women, especially mothers, the question, ‘so what do you do for a living?’, no matter how casually asked,  has been a loaded one.

Should we define ourselves solely by our biological status as mothers, as so many women have done before us?

If so what type of mother’s are we?

Full time mother, part-time mother, stay at home mother?

Or should we strive to avoid the trap of seeking to quantify ourselves by the amount of hands on time we spend mothering in the first place?

On this issue I totally agree with http:// /2012/09/28/whats-in-a-name/  contestation over the use of descriptors such as ‘full-time mum’ or ‘stay at home mum’, when seeking to define ourselves.

I’m not sure why we as women still refer to ourselves in these terms, but we do. At least I know I have done and occasionally still do and probably will do again in the future.

Yet each and every time I do, I also know that I find myself becoming increasingly more uncomfortable about doing so.

To me the description of a mother as either a full-time mum or a working mum, automatically sets up that god awful, age-old debate concerning the roles of women in both the family and the workforce.

And apart from anything else, it also tends to rub in the even more appallingly ridiculous notion that being a mother and mothering, isn’t hard work at all.

Newsflash, mothering is hard work. Just because it doesn’t come complete with a recognized financial package and a demarcated award wage, does not mean that it is not legitimate work. It is and it deserves to be acknowledged.

Of course once you get past the whole full-time, part-time, stay at home debacle,  you are then faced with the more modern conundrum of whether or not you’re a married stay at home mum, a single stay at home mum, married working mum or a single working mum?

If we’re honest about it, we know that each of these patriarchal definitions arrives complete with their own unique brands of social baggage and more often than not, moral judgements.

Which  you might not mind  confronting so much if you were  simply honestly being asked whether or not you were a Miss, Mrs or Ms,…… but when the question is supposed to be a harmless social ice breaker like ‘what do you do for a living’……?  Somehow the automatic roll call involved  just doesn’t seem to fit.

Especially considering the fact that feminists worked hard to legitimise the title Ms, specifically so that women wouldn’t have to  automatically define themselves as either married or single, instantaneously.

Of course these days the term Ms has become synonymous with divorce, so that now it’s used primarily to define a woman as a divorcee.

So that particular piece of hard worn anonymity still hasn’t been able to purchase for women the same rights as men, who only need to declare the letters Mr before their name, on any and all occasions.

Quite simply  I find the inadvertent information that each additional label sends out, when applied specifically to women,  nothing short of astounding.

Not to mention a double standard of enormous proportions.

And I think we as women really need to ask ourselves whether or not, in this day and age, giving out that sort of information  to a casual observer  is really necessary?

I mean, even in today’s world, it’s still not a definitional issue that men are exposed to, as they  have always tended to define themselves by their employment status alone anyway.

Even if they didn’t hold that stop-gap ,  men are rarely expected to divulge  their status as either a full-time dad or a single dad with such an easily laid out , ‘what do you do for a living?’…. the way that women are expected too.

But I guess the bigger question is, why do we even feel the need to try and define ourselves by what we do?

Personally I prefer to define myself as a human being, who happens to be both a woman and a mother.

How do you define yourself?