Foreword to “Autism and you! And…er, well me!”
Written by Jason Aaron Sutterfield
Started writing Foreword on: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 7:43PM
Ended writing Foreword on: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 9:55PM
Hi, first off I want to say thank you for supporting Autism Awareness Month, so…thanks!
What you’re about to read is a very touchy subject that I take seriously, which is something I rarely do.
I want to establish this because, it has been brought to my attention that I, in fact do not write very coherently and that I might be making light of the content that lies herein. I am not, I didn’t ask to be like this, but who does? I have grown to believe that every life is holy and scared and while I am not thusly a pacifist, I do my best to be a good person.
I’m a person, like you, I have feelings, wants, desires and emotions. I just show them differently. I wrote this long paper to not have all the answers to every question, I didn’t write it with the intention of saying I subscribe to the facts and opinions that are in this paper. I wrote it because if I don’t, who will, some draconic person with a degree who may or may not have my best interests at heart? No, No I don’t want that, I’d rather express myself poorly than not at all. That is my right as a human being and at the end of the day that is what I am, human.
My hobbies include poetry, book reading, movie watching, video game playing, trying to improve my life and be productive on my terms, no one else’s. My life right now as it is better than it has been in my entire life, I have a girlfriend, I make contribution as a fellow peer at The New Hope Wellness and Recovery Center, I often lead writing groups when the staff ask me to and I’m happy to do so. I also submit, as it’s been told to me by some sources very weird poetry to the newsletter, which even in spite of some frustrations at times, I still encourage others to do so, because that is our platform, our stage, our moment to creatively shine. I enjoy reading the newsletter, quirks and all.
I may seem mean on paper, but really I’m a softie, just ask the staff and no, I don’t care about gender stereotypes, real children of humans are both soft and gentle as well strong and resilient, gender be damned to Hell, Michigan, not that there is anything wrong with Hell, Michigan, I just wanted to say that.
Well not much more to add other than thank you again and I hope the following insight into how it feels to be in my head sometimes helps and this is only for my variance of Asperger’s, not all of us are so lucky.
I also for the record am not a part of any activism group for or against ASD or any other bioneuralogical development difficulties.
Autism and you! And…er, well me!
Written by Jason Aaron Sutterfield,
Started writing page 1 on: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 7:12PM
Ended page 1 on: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 10:09PM
Hi, hello, greetings and salutations reader, my name is Jason Aaron Sutterfield and I have Aspergers Syndrome, which is a part of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Now first I suppose you would like to what all that means, well, to be honest, I do not rightly know, I am not a doctor, however I did find a list of signs, symptoms, facts, details, and personal experiences as someone diagnosed with ASD. Now you, might be hoping to find a normal essay, don’t look here, this is a passion essay, so I’ll be learning with you.
First let’s start with the origin of the words of Autism and Aspergers. Autism, noun, a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. Fascinating, also interesting mention of the word, it is a combination of the Greek word Autos, which means self and an English suffix of –ism, as well as it was at one time in the early 20th century used originally with reference to a condition in which fantasy dominates over reality, regarded as a symptom of schizophrenia and other such mental disorders. Now Aspergers itself is named after the doctor, who discovered the syndrome, Doctor Hans Asperger(18 February 1906 – 21 October 1980), an Austrian pediatrician, medical theorist.
Bored yet? I’m not! Let’s list the sign, symptoms and some facts, be warned, I’m long winded on paper so skip ahead if you want, I find it fascinating, not everyone does. Here we go: factoid question number one, what causes ASD? Sadly not many scientists truly know which sadly lends some people to believe that ASD in all its forms does not exist, as too many factors in typical scientific studies are transcended, it does not discriminate by race, genetics, sexual orientation, diet, environment, or religious or political beliefs. So really we as a society are still learning about this one. However, what we can do for people with ASD is try to and provide better understanding. Because Autism is a spectrum disorder, it can range from very mild to very severe and occur in all ethnic, socioeconomic and age groups. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females. Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.
Now for the list of symptoms/signs and characterizations: The characterizations of someone diagnosed with ASD: social impairments, cognitive impairments, communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors. A person with ASD might also have the early signs like: not respond to their name (the child may appear deaf), not point at objects or things of interest, or demonstrate interest, not play “pretend” games, avoid eye contact, want to be alone,
Have difficulty understanding, or showing understanding, or other people’s feelings or their own,
Have no speech or delayed speech, Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia), Give unrelated, answers to questions, get upset by minor changes, Have obsessive interests or quirks, Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles, Have unusual reactions (over or under-sensitivity) to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel, Have low to no social skills, Avoid or resist physical contact, demonstrate little safety or danger awareness, reverse pronouns (e.g., says “you” instead of “I”),gives unrelated answers to questions. People with autism may also: Have unusual interests and behaviors, have extreme anxiety and phobias, as well as unusual phobias, like with me and puppets, I hate puppets, line up toys or other objects, play with toys the same way every time, like parts of people or objects (e.g., eyes, wheels),Become upset by minor changes, have obsessive interests.
Started writing page 2 on: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 10:11PM
Ended page 2 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 12:05AM
Thought I was done with listing stuff? I wish I was, but you know what, no, no I’m not. Other symptoms: hyperactivity (very active) impulsivity (acting without thinking),short attention span, aggression, causing self injury, meltdowns, unusual eating and sleeping habits, nightmare puppets will do that, unusual mood or emotional reactions, lack of fear or more fear than expected, have unusual sleeping habits.
How I feel about this information: Personally, I do not think of ASD as a disability or disease, but rather a neurobiological difference, however for the sake of the well being of some people who are less fortunate than I, I’ll take it as a disability, because I am a mild case and there are days where I wish I was stupid and normal without any of the quirks just so I could stand the feel of my own skin, to not dwell on things, like puppets, and while it’s a lot of boring and tedious and similar issues to other mental illness, people like me have savant like tendencies, we have things that need treatment programs like bi-polar or OCD or any kind of means of not only recovery, but coping and management skills as well. Our brains work differently, not better or worse, and each person is a different puzzle needing to be solved.
What I think about all of this: did I want to do this assignment? No. did I need to do this assignment? Yes. Why? Because I didn’t get diagnosed with Aspergers until my mid 20s so I’m kind of angry about a lot of ignorance over these kinds of things, no, anger isn’t a strong enough word, I don’t think there is a strong enough form of expression to convey how I feel about some people in the medical profession not wanting to label me as someone with Aspergers, if I didn’t have my parents that I do, I could have ended up in a mental institution, jail or worse dead. I will say that I’m glad that more people are making an effort to raise awareness, to see the importance of ASD, we’re not there yet, but we are on a good start down a long road.
Other Links of interest with notes:
Contains some statistics on autism I might have forgot to mention, like:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that approximately 1 in 68 American children are on the autism spectrum. More specifically, it’s estimated that 1 in 42 boys, and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the US.
This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children.
And this from watchmojo.com,
a Top 10 Inspirational People With Autism and Asperger Syndrome list, it’s a video, my personal favorite is #3 Satoshi Tajiri, the man who created the Pokémon franchise, and #2 Dan Akryoid, a Canadian actor.
Started writing page 3 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 12:09AM
Ended page 3 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 3:57PM
Thought I was done annoying you? No? Well this is the bonus round baby!
Since I wanted to talk more about successful people with ASD a little bit, more because I ran out of room on the second page, ASD does not stop us from being productive people, it just means we have different focuses and goals than making the quickest buck sometime, like with Satoshi Tajiri-san, he loved to collect bugs, but if what I remember correctly, he hated killing bugs, he also loved going outdoors, adventure and collecting are major themes in his world he created for Nintendo. As for Dan Akryoid, he is known best for writing part of and starring in the original Ghostbusters from 1984, as well as his time on Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1979, with sprinkle in cameos of the sketch comedy series starting from 1988 to 2013(as far as the time I’m writing this project, he might get more later).
How about fictional character with ASD and Aspergers Syndrome? Well in TV and movies there aren’t many good ones, the only one that comes to the forefront as of the time I write this is Doctor Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds, the actor who portrays him Matthew Gray Gubler has talked about what may form his character’s genius, has said that Reid may have Asperger’s syndrome and perhaps even be mildly schizophrenic, as Reid’s mother was schizophrenic herself. Now a negative representation of high functioning ASD in my eyes is the character of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, there is or was a long running joke in regards when any one of the character makes a remark about Cooper’s mental state, he’ll reply with “I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested”, and even his mother made a remark in one episode that “she should have met a doctor for a follow-up appointment.” Now while that some viewers take Sheldon’s behavior, mannerisms, and social skills as a sign that Sheldon has Asperger’s syndrome or otherwise falls on the autism spectrum, the show-runners have persistently denied in many interviews that Sheldon has Asperger’s or any other type of autism. It should be noted however, that actor Jim Parsons who plays Sheldon has stated that he does think that Sheldon actually does have Asperger’s syndrome and portrays him as such. Now you might be sitting there and saying to yourself, “But Jason, Criminal Minds is a FBI drama, and Big Bang Theory is a situation comedy, aren’t you being a little uptight and unreasonable?” No, I don’t think so, a negative stereotype who is obnoxious and belittles other people constantly because they think other people are idiots isn’t the kind of message that should be sent, more so in this more knowledgeable age. Exploiting anyone for a laugh is a terrible thing, and I don’t blame the actor, the character is written that way and while he can be funny at times, it feels like mental blackface to me. Same can be said of the overabundance of apparently dimwitted, yet wise at times characters who are too numerous to list, why can’t they show some who are rather plain over just extreme?
Separating from my rant, I’d like to note that Sesame Street is introducing a new Muppet called Julia, who is confirmed to be an autistic character, and the Muppeteer operating her is a mother of a child with autism. The character has already appeared in books for Sesame Street, and will hopefully teach children its okay to be different, even if it is in the form of a Muppet, which is pretty much a puppet; it’s one I can get behind, unlike The Count. However, I still don’t like puppets, more so The Count, although, math is important too.
Still with me, Wishing I’d shut up? I still have information to give you, and whether you think it is important or not, I like to give some information with my inane ramblings, and if you have made it this far, and put up with my quirks, I applaud you, and even if you laugh at me, I don’t feel angry.
Started writing page 4 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 4:00PM
Ended page 4 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 4:33PM
Okay so I was made aware of an organization called Autism Speaks, do not, I repeat, do not support them, if you see a product that endorses their way of thinking, you’ll be supporting people who think that autism is a disease, and as information mentioned used in the blog of the caffeinated autistic, here are some of the things Autism Speaks has done since at least 6/20/14
Autism Speaks does not have a single autistic member on their board.
Autism Speaks only spends 4% of their budget on “family services”.
Much of Autism Speaks’ money goes toward research, and much of that research centers on finding a way to eliminate autism, and thus, autistics (which will likely be done through a prenatal test, in the same way that the Down’s Syndrome test is conducted).
Autism Speaks produces advertisements, small films, etc. about what a burden autistic people are to society. (We are so not.)
Autism Speaks was responsible for “Autism Every Day”, which featured a member of their board talking about contemplating murder-suicide of her daughter in front of her daughter. This has now been removed from Autism Speaks’ Youtube channel.
Autism Speaks is responsible for “I am Autism”, a short film produced by the same person who directed the 3rd Harry Potter movie and features an ominous voice saying things like “I am autism…I know where you live…I work faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined…I will make sure your marriage fails.”
A woman’s job offer was rescinded after she asked Autism Speaks for accommodations in caring for her autistic son. They refused, and she made necessary accommodations for childcare, but they withdrew her offer anyways.
Autism Speaks shared the news of Google removing hate speech regarding autistics from Google’s autofill feature, completely erasing any mention of autistic people’s flashblogs having anything to do with the change. It was only after a member of the autism community spoke with a reporter about the flashblog and a statement was released to the media that Google decided to make this change.
Autism Speaks highlighted AAC use, while erasing those those who actually use AAC devices to communicate. The focus was on the caretakers, not on the autistic people themselves.
As you can see, Autism Speaks masquerades as a means to crusade for autism, but really, they work toward more or less genetic cleansing by vilifying ASD as something worse than AIDS and cancer. They also are big on anti-vaccination for children, which really does more harm than good by keeping dangerous diseases around to be spread. Please take care of how you try and support autism and do not support Autism Speaks, do research before you buy any awareness items.
Started writing page 5 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 4:36PM
Ended page 5 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 4:40PM
Myths and misconceptions about autism are plenty, here are a few:
Autism is caused by mutations in only one gene.
ASD is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. To date, variations in almost 300 genes have been associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and these explain less than 10% of individuals with autism.
The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism.
Today, no scientific studies have established a causative link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The original study that reported a correlation between MMR vaccination and autism has been retracted and repudiated by the scientific community. Studies conducted by researchers in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Japan have failed to establish any causative link between vaccinations and autism. Unfortunately, although the vaccine-autism link has been widely discredited, the dangerous misconception that vaccines cause autism persists in the face of no sound scientific evidence.
Stem cell therapy cures Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Stem Cell Therapy for ASD is an experimental treatment that has never been shown to be safe or effective.
Children with ASD can never recover
Between 3% and 25% of children diagnosed with ASD, within certain parameters, and provided with extensive behavioral intervention can recover sufficiently to enter the normal range of social and cognitive abilities.
Research into autism biology and autism treatment is not receiving enough attention and is lagging behind research in other scientific fields.
The growth in autism research in the past few years has been substantially larger than that in other related research fields.
More can be found at:
Started writing page 6 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 5:03PM
Ended page 6 on: Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 10:22PM
Hello reader, as you may have seen how some people will argue about all the beforehand knowledge and there are things I’m sure I have left out but sadly all that information provided is useless because, like with anything in this informational age, opinions are plenty, but true answers don’t really exist. Some people want to blame food and vaccines, some want to blame genetics; some even want to accept it as punishment from God and some think it’s a lifestyle choice. The truth of the matter it can be all and none of these things, the truth is like with everything, we don’t know yet. Only time, patience, perseverance and honestly fewer pointing fingers might help. I was asked how it affects me; I think I am how I was meant to be born, for no better or worse. The bigger issue I have is the level of shame we as a culture put upon this, these people, my people, the wonderful rainbow that they are do not deserve hate and spite, but rather love and understanding, just like everyone else. We may never fully discover why the brain chooses its design, as far as I am aware, I never chose this and I never wanted it. Hell, I’ll even admit there are times when I as someone who has Aspergers have had moments where I have felt extreme unexplainable animosity towards someone else that was autistic and they don’t even have to do anything.
As for all the stuff I wrote before this, I wrote it leaving a lot of my quirks unchecked and what a frustrating read it was wasn’t it? I’m sure it had run-ons, improper grammar, unneeded repetition, like you were reading a language you knew, but didn’t understand. Well, sadly that is partly how my mind works, I cannot give you my shoes to walk in, in this instance and however, maybe you can sympathize with my frustration of being a “mild” case of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, all the information given is valid to my knowing yes, granted I can understand how it feels to be overwhelmed and be poisoned by all that I cannot express mentally, emotionally or even sexually and spiritually. I just ask you to think about it when you are quick to blurt out a slur towards someone’s mental state, that people like me do have feelings, we do have dreams and we’re just like you, really, we just learn differently.
Truth be told, no one could do such a topic justice that I know of, mostly because we are as just as varied as other people, all I can do is hold a candle to shed the smallest light on the subject, because with a lot of bad science out there and there is a lot out there that is beyond harmful to any semblance to logic with people exploiting people with autism to push their own agenda and belittle us. We can be productive members of society; we just might be more specialized than a one-size-fits-all job.
Now since I suck at essay writing, I will show my gift in a small poem:
I am a leaf upon the tree, I am a blade of grass amongst the field, I am a prism within the rainbow, I am a fracture of the children of Man and I request the respect I try to share.
I hold to my heart a dream, I just want to live and let be, I see the potential of heaven in everyone, for hell is something we all know, the road is just different for each of us.
I wish to share the freedom of basic truth, we are all brothers and sister of the same fate and I know sometimes in your eyes I will not always seem right, but for any transgressions, I hope to share peace with you.
Now, while it may be painful and frustrating to comfort, know in my alien agony I extend my hands to hold you and when there isn’t the words, I hope we can find something beautiful.
Thank you for reading, if you have a god of any kind, may they go in peace with you.
Afterthoughts for “Autism and you! And…er, well me!”
Written by Jason Aaron Sutterfield
Started writing Afterthoughts on: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 10:03PM
Ended writing Afterthoughts on: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 10:42PM
Hello once again reader, why add afterthoughts to an already enormous collection of thought pattern? Because there were things I felt I missed. Things like:
1.forming nouns: 2. denoting an action or its result. “baptism”. Denoting a state or quality. “barbarism”
- denoting a system, principle, or ideological movement.”Anglicanism”. Denoting a basis for prejudice or discrimination. “racism” 4. denoting a peculiarity in language. “colloquialism” 5. denoting a pathological condition. “alcoholism”
from French -isme, via Latin from Greek -ismos, -isma .
a suffix appearing in loanwords from Greek, where it was used to form action nouns from verbs (baptism); on this model, used as a productive suffix in the formation of nouns denoting action or practice, state or condition, principles, doctrines, a usage or characteristic, devotion or adherence, etc. (criticism; barbarism; Darwinism; despotism; plagiarism; realism; witticism; intellectualism).
A good fictional character to show some of the autistic struggle like mine is Commander Data from Star Trek: the Next Generation, his whole arc from seven years on TV and 4 movies does display some of the issues I have felt, if I was an android. Which I’m not, but the point still stands.
You’re better off trying to find a government site rather than an organization site or a standard site of any kind, I’m sure there are some bad .gov sites out there just there are bad .org sites and .com sites, but the most important thing you can do to help understand autism is research…and have great patience and understanding. Because like with anything that is different, there is a series of people who hate.
I had to learn mostly on my own to pretend to care as much as I do, but in that way I care more because I want to get it right and at some point it becomes genuine in its’ own right. So for me, the more I bug you, the more you matter.
I do not write the majority of my poetry for anyone but myself, if I write something for you, you must be special. I also prefer others create their own meaning to my poems as they tend to be not about me as a person.
The reason why I dislike puppets and namely The Count from Sesame Street is because as a child, he plagued and terrorized my dreams in which family members would get brutally dismembered and/or killed, and I would wind up being tickled to death…plus who makes a puppet out of a vampire? Sometimes I still have echoes of these old nightmares even though I know he really can’t hurt me.
Follow-up Notes for “Autism and you! And…er, well me!”
Written by Jason Aaron Sutterfield, I swear I’m not trying to bore you to death.
Started writing notes on: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 6:45PM
Ended: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 8:13PM
These answers were brought up because of some questions I’ve been asked, some I asked after the fact and some I’ve seen asked. I wish to clear up some things. As well as share some science humor. Also corrected some bad logic I encountered before I wrote this and no I’m not making this up.
Autism isn’t caused by head injury, while brain damage can share some of the same symptoms; they are not the same thing.
Autism and Down’s syndrome is not the same thing, Autism is a Biodevelopmental disorder, Down’s is a genetic disorder. Also you can have a prenatal test down to see if your child has Down’s syndrome, you can’t with Autism. Autism requires a series of behavioral and emotional tests. However, a child with Down’s syndrome can be born autistic.
Autism is not a mental disorder, they may overlap and augment one another, but they are not the same things. As of to date, there is no way to medically treat Autism. That being said, like with people who are OCD, some autistic people, depending on severity, can be taught to cope with their difficulties with functioning in modern society.
You cannot contract ASD through physical or sexual contact. It is not a Sexually Transmitted Infection or Disease. Same goes if someone with ASD sneezes on you.
People within the LGBTQ community are not at higher risk at being autistic, being gay, bisexual, transgendered, or even of no sexual preference at all will not make you autistic.
Being into sadomasochism does not cause autism, neither is it a sign of it.
Being liberal, democrat or republican does not mean you are autistic. Neither does being born outside of English speaking countries.
You can be of any spiritual or religious faith and be autistic.
No, you cannot take a blood test to see if you’re autistic, does not work that way.
Being bitten by a rabid animal will not give you autism.
The following links are two science based humor comics; I found them funny, more so given the easy to disprove so called “scientific thought” put into science nowadays.