Posts tagged abuse
2:59 pm - Sun, Mar 9, 2014
1 note
11:16 am - Thu, Jan 30, 2014
53 notes

what happens to autistic adults


Uhhhh … they turn into a pumpkin at midnight? 

What does this even mean?

This is actually a good question.  If it was asked with goodwill, it deserves an answer.  Mine only covers the U.S.  Things are different in other places. 

It depends.  In the U.S., there are basically three groups.  The middle one seems biggest.  All are represented on Tumblr and in autistic spaces around the Internet.  The boundaries between them are fuzzy.

Some autistics can navigate society without supports or accommodations besides what all people need.*  Some who might have been able to make it without extra help are too damaged by ableism to do so in practice.**  People who dodge all these obstacles sometimes do well for themselves.  It depends on all the usual sociological and personal factors.

Then, there are people who are visibly disabled, cannot speak, are unquestionably unable to hold down most traditional jobs, and, in some but not all cases, score as intellectually disabled on IQ tests.  These people qualify for SSI.  Many live in group homes.  Some languish in nursing homes and other institutions.  A few are lucky enough to have real homes in the community and lives that let them use all the potential they have, connect with others to the extent that they like, and generally live well.  Far more have their abilities ignored, their potential wasted, and their agency squashed.  These, at least, can usually count on support from the social safety net.  Most of them at least have what they need to survive.*** 

The middle group has it worst.  They look normal, but serious sensory or organizational issues make it hard to work, or a flat or strange affect makes it hard to get hired in the first place.  Executive functioning issues can also complicate things like remembering to pay bills on time and doing household chores.  In America, one must look extremely disabled to trigger the social safety net.  These people are rarely disabled enough, so they scrape by on the margins of society.  They are poor even if they have marketable degrees.  Unless they have families or communities willing and able to simultaneously protect and support them and encourage them to live up to the potential they have, their lives are hard.  Sometimes, they end up homeless or stuck with romantic, platonic, or familial abusers.  This is an especially big problem for women.  These people look normal enough that charities are not interested in helping.  They are a predator’s dream.  They can expect little sympathy from a society that writes them off as lazy, especially when they come from poor or minority backgrounds.  If they can get on SSI, any additional income or satisfaction they could have gotten from having careers is cut off.**** 

*Abled people need some supports.  Consider how loud sirens have to be to get neurotypicals’ attention.

**The consequences of prejudice include PTSD from abuse, neglect, harassment, and violence of all kinds, which we suffer from at higher rates than the general population.  Another issue arising from brushes with ableism is learned helplessness.  Some people are so coddled as children that they are too weak to do well in the adult world.  Some are able to overcome this with a lot of hard work.  Others never really do.  It is hard to solve problems that reduce one’s capacity to solve problems.  Another issue is that people who have had too much social skills training stop acting a little awkward, which at least looks natural, and seem robotic.  Many have a vibe that is often described in terms of serial killers and white vans with ‘free candy’ scratched down the side.  One can imagine how these individuals do in job interviews.

***A few are killed by abusive caregivers, though.  Young men in this category, especially if they are POCs, are at unusually high risk of dying in altercations with police.  Some meet early, preventable ends because they are neglected or become ill.  Medical care available to poor people in America is often substandard.  The medical profession can be very ableist.  Doctors do not always try hard.

****The line about altercations with police applies to these people, too.

12:51 pm - Mon, Jun 17, 2013
21 notes

Can We Please Assume (TW Murder, Violence, Abuse, Ableism,

The last couple of weeks dragged me across over 1,000 miles and seven towns with no end in slight.  There have been gigs, heretofore unknown cousins, research misadventures, and the miseries of breaking in new work books.  Last night, I was lounging in a comfortable chair, trying not to move.  I wanted to sleep but had fidgety thoughts.

They killed another one.  They nearly severed his hand, called it mercy.  The headlines say they were desperate.  Less sensational articles note that their state offered help.  They refused it.  Their suicide attempts were pitifully insincere.  As thorough as they were with Alex, it is odd that they failed to spare the good people of Illinois the expense of their trial.  They seem to be getting more sympathy than their victim.  People assume that autistics, the disabled in general, are so different from everyone else that killing us is humane.  What is beneficial and desirable to others is not so to us.

Here in Georgia, we have an Autism Speaks-sponsored bill that would incentivze ABA.  That is never good.  This is particularly infuriating because they are parading a child around as their mascot.  She seems like a great kid.  I like her just from the Facebook photos.  If her parents care what is best for her, they think it is being an activist.

When allistic children have public lives, we worry.  Sunlight, not limelight, helps growing bodies and minds.  We sigh over child stars.  They are cute now, but life will be difficult for them unless they make the transition to adult acting.  Many now-grown kid celebrities’ lives are train wrecks.  They are anything but healthy, happy, well-adjusted, productive adults.  We admire President Obama and the First Lady, whether we like their politics or not, for keeping their girls’ lives quiet, normal.  Sasha and Malia turn up in the occasional Facebook photo, but their parents seem to keep them mostly out of politics and public life. 

One would think that public portrayals of the first family would be a reflection of society’s wishes for all its children.  Autistic kids are apparently so weird, so special, as to be an exception to the rules.  Autistic youth do not necessarily need real childhoods, where they learn advocacy without being expected to man the barricades.  Autistic children, autistics in general, are not thought to need and want the preservation of life, the awe-inspiring drive and common feature of nearly all beings.  This is ableism at its finest: those people are such freaks that murdering them, committing one of the most viscerally disturbing crimes that others fear and dread, killing them without their consent, can be an act of mercy. 

Even if you share my belief that Alex went home to a god who received him like a favorite son, that boy lost everything his life could have been.  He had many more years.  Nothing can compensate him for a lost future that might have been wonderful.  He will never feel the sun of our world on his face again.  He suffered agony and terror at the hands of those he loved, trusted most.  He was robbed of the chance to realize whatever dreams he might have had.  If you feel one iota of sympathy for Alex Spourdalakis’ killers, you are part of the problem.  Rethink those feelings.  Start working on changing society’s sense that the disabled are so different that the general rules of basic human needs, wants, and welfare do not apply.

2:28 pm - Wed, Jul 18, 2012
4 notes

The Execution of Waren Hill

Warren Hill is not a nice person.  I would not want him living in my neighborhood.  He is not in prison for one of the drug convictions that take too many, especially men of color living in poverty, from their communities.  He is there because he has shown a callous willingness to kill other human beings.  He murdered two brutally, his girlfriend with eleven gunshots, his cellmate with a nail-studded board.  No one wants his presence in society.  However, he does not deserve to die.

I read about his life.  He grew up poor.  He was abused.  At least one parent’s ability to raise him was limited by substance abuse and dependence.  His family failed him.  It was obvious to his teachers that he could not understand the material for his grade level.  He learned slower, more laboriously, than his schoolmates.  However, I saw no indication that he got so much as tutoring to maximize his academic potential and options in life.  He was born too early for special education.  The schools failed him. 

As an adult, Hill was in the military.  They took a man with less cognitive ability than  average who was raised with few examples of nonviolent interpersonal relationships and taught him violence.  Military training does not a murderer make.  Even combat veterans generally do not generally hurt civilians.  However, it does make one better at any violence one chooses to perform by definition.  The recruiter who likely came to know Hill’s limitations and something of his history but did not turn him away failed him.  So did his commanding officers.  He seems to have served in the Navy during peacetime.  It would have been no great loss to the armed forces to let one man out when it became apparent he should not have been there. 

In prison, he was not protected.  According to a Guardian article, he lived in a dormitory.  While the authorities did not recognize his vulnerability, other inmates did.  Physically and sexually, he was mistreated as too many prisoners are.  He may well have been lashing out at an abuser when he got his death sentence.

People with intellectual disabilities have moral culpability.  They must be given the dignity of responsibility for their actions.  Hill’s wrongdoing is ultimately on his own conscience, but society should recognize that its every institution failed him.  Murder is wrong, but Hill was set up for a bad end.  Then, his disability put him at a disadvantage in the courts.  From birth, the people partly or wholly responsible to him and for his well-being did not help him.  The arc of his life might have been diverted from this wretched course.  No one stepped up. 

Warren Hill is a murderer.  He should be punished.  Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is punishment enough.  That would protect society from him, penalize him for monstrous acts, recognize that some small share of fault falls on innumerable others, and preserve his chance to reform.  That would be justice.  Given safe space within a prison, a useful task to perform, a bit of compassion, and perhaps whatever educational materials he can understand, he could become better than he is.  It is a long shot, but society also has a debt to pay him.  We should take into account that he never received his birthright.  Every unwritten promise of the social contract went unfulfilled in his life.

I am especially leery of executing Warren Hill because I see intentionality in this.  I suspect someone might have recognized his disability sooner if not for certain racial stereotypes of intelligence.  I know poverty destroyed what little chance he had of getting help as a child in the 1960s.  His socioeconomic status worked against him in the courts.  I wonder if he would have received the death penalty if, all else equal, he had been white.  It is possible, but, if we could make a bet and peer into a parallel universe for the answer, my money would be on ‘no.’  My gut says he would be serving a life sentence if he did not call up a specter, a caricature of black, male violence that has long haunted the South.

These are not the only reasons his life should be spared.  Apart from the injustice of the situation, Georgia should not flout the law.  The U.S. Supreme Court has not take the case, but they have already ruled the execution of people with intellectual disabilities unconstitutional.  Whatever one’s opinion of the death penalty, there is nothing acceptable about this.  It is immoral, illegal, and embarrassing.  At favorite haunts in Boone, North Carolina this weekend, I may hide the car off the main drag.  I would rather pretend to be from somewhere else than be seen with Georgia plates.  If the Supreme Court does not intervene, if Governor Deal is silent, my adopted home will sink to a level of barbarism that will appall decent people the world over this coming Monday.  It has already cropped up in foreign media.  Georgia’s idea of justice is depriving a man who has hardly had anything of all he has left: his future, the opportunity to improve.  Now, everyone knows.

2:07 pm - Tue, May 1, 2012
51 notes

Important Anouncement:

Autistics, allies, disability advocates, and disability activists, State Representative Sanchez of Massachusetts has expressed approval of the Judge Rotenberg Center.  He has brushed off attempts to question his support of the torture of children on American soil.  We are invading his Facebook page tonight.  Please participate.  People with our labels are suffering on his watch.  Innocent kids are shocked until their skin burns.  He thinks this is a good idea.  Show up.  Be civil.  Do not make threats.  Post your own sentiments or links.  Post late at night into the early morning hours.  We want him to wake up to this.  We want people to see it before his staff can take it down.  Please signal boost this message.  I hope to see you there.

1:41 pm - Mon, Mar 12, 2012
3 notes


Reports of such incidents should be “minuscule,” said Maureen Fitzgerald, director of disability rights at the Arc, which advocates for people with disabilities. Fitzgerald said when abuses occur, it’s usually because workers aren’t properly trained.

“They are put in situations where they’re not trained, they don’t have the support they need and things get out of control because they don’t know how to manage the kids, and they do whatever they can to keep everybody calm and safe … and that’s when people start getting hurt,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald’s organization is among several disability organizations seeking passage of a bill by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that would prohibit the use of seclusion and allow restraints only in emergency situations and until the danger of serious bodily injury has passed. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., has a similar bill in the House. Legislation to address the issue sponsored by Miller passed in 2010 but failed to get out of the Senate.

5:42 pm - Fri, Jan 6, 2012
19 notes




So right now in my english class we’re doing a project on our values and life experiences or whatever. I’m not the kind of person to share much with people I hardly know, especially in real life. Regardless of this, I feel guilty that I originally didn’t plan on including anything person in my…

The authorities probably need to get involved.  Beating any child is unacceptable.  Striking an autistic child in the middle of a meltdown can only make things worse.  Good luck with your project.  It sounds like a great idea.  I can empathize with some things you say about memories of your parents.

I did go to the cashier and ask if she had some sort of policy on that kind of thing, and she told me she already called the police and they were on their way when she saw it happening. If she hadn’t done that I would have called the police myself. Sorry I didn’t specify!

Thank you.  That makes me less worried.

(via dead-end-song)

5:22 pm - Wed, Dec 21, 2011
160 notes



In Mercer County, Kentucky, nine year old Chris Baker, an Autistic student, was told by his special education aide to climb inside a gym ball bag for punishment to “control his autistic behavior” in mid-December 2011. He was placed in the bag with the drawstring tightened and left in the hallway in the school. When his mother, Sandra Baker, was called to the school to get her son, she demanded that he be removed from the bag right away. The teacher struggled to undo the drawstring, and Chris emerged sweaty and non-communicative. According to the teacher, this had been done several times over the last year, but Sandra didn’t know until this latest incident. While she met with state officials on Monday 19 December 2011 before a possible meeting with school officials, there is no guarantee that those meetings will prevent this kind of abuse from happening again — either to Chris or to other students.

Holy shit. This is screwed up.

There is a Facebook group you can join that sometimes offers more ways to help:

(via marigolds-sorry)

9:33 am - Sun, Dec 11, 2011
5 notes

Please Sign (TW abuse)

This is a petition in support of Emily Holcomb, a nonverbal, autistic girl recently arrested for resisting restraint:

We hereby affirm that

1.) Physical, mechanical, and chemical restraint of Autistic students…is abuse except in brief, temporary, and emergency interventions…

2.) All special education teachers ought to receive extensive education and training in appropriate interactions with and educational methods for Autistic students and students with other disabilities…

3.) All…teachers ought to receive at least basic awareness education and training in recognizing autism and other disabilities…either before beginning work as teachers or as continuing education credits in order to promote the best possible outcomes for all students;

4.) It is in the best interests of all educators, educational administrators, parents, and Autistic students and students with other disabilities to ensure the safety and well-being of all students…

5.) Filing felony criminal charges against an Autistic student or student with another disability in response…to tactile defensiveness, panic attacks, or a perceived or actual assault, is an inappropriate and unethical response to said actions;

And in accordance with our affirmations, we demand that the following actions be taken or started before the end of December 2012, with all due speed:

1.) That the teacher responsible for restraining Emily Holcomb for fifty-five minutes be dismissed from position…OR be required to successfully complete extensive continuing education professional training in interacting with and educating Autistic students and students with other disabilities…

2.) That all current and future special education teachers in Marion County be required to successfully complete…training in interacting with and educating Autistic students and students with other disabilities…

3.) That all… teachers in Marion County be required to successfully complete basic continuing education professional training in interacting with and educating Autistic students and students with other disabilities…

4.) That use of any type of restraint on any student be explicitly prohibited except in brief, temporary, and emergency interventions that are carefully and completely documented and reviewed with a full debriefing including the student and parent(s) or guardian(s) afterward.

2:18 pm - Fri, Dec 9, 2011
18 notes


Context: The teacher had physically restrained her for fifty-five minutes before the girl started hitting to try and get away. Apparently you can be criminally charged for resisting abuse.

Information on how to take action at Autistic Hoya [x].

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