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Defining Autistic Culture

November 4, 2012

I have been extremely depressed for the last several days. Seasonal Affective Disorder really sucks. Reading posts about autistic self advocates not having a voice in autism discussion panels isn’t helping me feel any better either. Another thing that has been bothering me alot is that there are no articles that I can find online, written about autistic culture. Why is that? I found an abstract in an online database written in a paid subscription thing about the subject, but I couldn’t access the whole thing. I am going to check with the library of my university to see if I can get access to the database through there. Hopefully I can. I am so behind on homework and stuff because of depression and lack of initiative and lack of ability to concentrate. I have a special therapy lamp for my seasonal depression, but because of inability to take initiative for much of anything lately, I haven’t used it even though it’s sitting right next to my bed. This is common for us, to lack initiative or ability to take steps to help ourselves when we are stressed out, overloaded, hungry, etcetera. Yesterday, for example, I went the whole day without eating because I just couldn’t figure out how to motivate myself to get food. I also had a lack of desire to eat because I felt like I didn’t deserve to eat. That’s because of the depression. And I didn’t care. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time. It could be a number of things. I just didn’t have the spoons to figure out what was holding me back from doing things I needed to do. Like eating. And doing my homework. I was in a really weird place mentally. At school last week I felt in a weird dark place also.

Something unrelated-I definitely want to see stuff written by self advocates about autistic culture. I could write about it I suppose but, being a math person and not a writer, I have a lot of trouble with that. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I do think we have a culture. Cultures have traditions and rituals. Autistics have rituals. We have unique methods of communication with each other and with nonautistic people. We have different ways of thinking about things. But I suppose one major difference between autistic culture and other well-defined cultures is that within our culture, because every autistic is different, our culture is more a sum of parts. Of course, every individual within a given culture will be unique (because all individuals are unique of course. Sorry for the Captain Obvious moment there, but as I said before, I do much better with math than writing.)

So all cultures are a sum of their parts in a way. A sum of every individual’s contribution to that culture. I suppose what I am trying to say, albeit not very well, is that autistic culture being the sum of its parts is more obvious than for other cultures, in my opinion. The reason being that we have very different means of thinking about and understanding the world around us. Many cultures have a shared sense of understanding and views of how the world works. Or doesn’t work, whatever the case may be. I would love to see more posts by autistics, about autistic culture. That would help me articulate my own thoughts about autistic culture.

Ivan

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