Autism mental health Neurodiversity

A Serious Discussion About Aspie Supremacists

I learned a new term recently - Aspie Supremacist. I had an ah-ha moment this week and wanted to share my thoughts on where this mind-set comes from.

I learned a new term recently – Aspie Supremacist. I had an ah-ha moment this week and wanted to share my thoughts on where I think this mind-set comes from.

 

I just had this aha moment, thinking about Aspie supremacists, and if you don’t know what an Aspie supremacist is I didn’t know until very recently. It’s someone who uses their Aspergers diagnosis to paint themselves as better than someone who has the autism diagnosis.

Despite the fact that the Aspergers diagnosis is being phased out and moving forward in most parts of the world people are only being diagnosed as autism and no longer Aspergers. Not saying that if you have the Aspergers diagnosis that you can’t continue to identify as Aspergers if that’s already more comfortable for you.

Here’s the issue, you know I’m driving to work and I have this epiphany, this aha moment, you know where people with Aspergers want to separate themselves from autistics. People with Aspergers are like yeah the autistics have something really wrong with them us people with Aspergers are just really really smart, and that’s not OK.

And I haven’t really know what to say or do with this information but I had a big aha moment about the nature of these kinds. Where these thoughts come from? I wanted to share something with you very personal, when I was growing up I did some time in a special ed classroom. And I remember wanting to differentiate myself from the other kids in special ed, and I was not diagnosed at this time. So I didn’t have any diagnosis, I was just a problem and they put me in special ed.

2:18
The other kids, you know people treated them like there was something wrong with them, and I was convinced there was nothing wrong with me, and so, I needed to separate myself, you know, and this is elementary school, so first grade probably, or second grade, third grade, I’m not sure of the exact year.

But I felt a really strong need to differentiate myself from the other kids, but it wasn’t because there was anything wrong with the other kids it was because the people around, like the teachers and the other kids, around the special needs kids and the special needs classroom treated these special needs kids like they were broken. And I, had a strong feeling that I wasn’t broken and that’s why I needed to separate myself from the other special eds kids like in my head a category, I had to draw a hard category there.

And I don’t see it this way now, but I just had this complete flashback to being my little self sitting in the special ed classroom and looking at those other kids and all of a sudden you know everything that was in my head is just back. I understood. I was able to take the perspective of you know the Aspies who…. you know I don’t really want to use that word, but that’s the word they often used for themselves, the Aspergers people who really you know are like ‘Autism is this but Aspergers is this’ and they really want to make that divide even though you know medical science is getting rid of that divide at this point… in most of the world

…but they really want to hang onto that, and it’s not, I don’t think it’s because they think there’s anything wrong with autistics I think it’s because everyone around them is saying that there’s something wrong with autistics.

And that’s more on this stigma we’ve got a problem with, is that society tells everyone that being autistic is so horrible and that it’s a tragedy and that we need to cure autistic people and that we need to help them, so they can lead more normal lives and be more normal, and fuck… why do… excuse my language. But what if we don’t wanna be normal or lead normal lives? Like you know normal quote normal, like what if we don’t want to do the same things that everyone else does?

What if we want to live our lives differently? Why does that have to be a problem? But you know that’s a whole other conversation, but these are just my thoughts, so I don’t know if I’m going to share this I’m just doing a voice memo on my phone right now I’ve got it sitting in my lap and I’m driving, because I don’t want to lose these thoughts because it’s hard for me to keep words in my head. And I don’t know, I hope I can share these thoughts. I’m going to go back and listen to them to see if they make sense. Anyway, I’m going to sign out.

Transcriptions thanks to

MEN HEAL

(twitter.com/menhealuk)

15 comments

  1. I need to wait until a later time to view your video, and will for sure as I enjoy your videos. I just wanted to comment I stumbled across this term recently too but haven’t had enough time to ponder it to discuss it much or write about it. I may in the near future. I am glad to see you did a video about it and look forward to watching it when I can.

    Something else that kinda left an awful taste in my mouth recently but not sure if it has to do with Autistic Supremacy, but kinda has to do with the way we talk about different spectrums. Temple Grandin a highly supported and inspires many people, even on the spectrum. The other day I read something she said and in the quote it said “You don’t want to be on the severe end of the spectrum” and although I feel for the parents who deal with the frustrations of saying having a child who is on the low end of the spectrum, and those who are more severe have significant challenges there is no denying it. I feel how she said it could be harmful to those on the spectrum. Like what does she mean? Should we wipe out low end spectrum people because they are more severe? Why don’t we want them? Like I understand both sides I do, but not to say there is no place in the world for them or we don’t need them. :/ Actually if you want my opinion no autism is mild or better than other. It is just like all humans, we all have unique strengths, we all have struggles just all are to different extents etc. We all still want the same thing is to be happy in our own terms.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It honestly came across like it was some thing to say we need to cure the severe autistic people disguised as some inspiring quote. I was like what did I just read? Maybe I took it wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. When it comes to neurodiversity or mental health, I think a lot of people try to carve out little identity niches for themselves to fit in where they would prefer to be in terms of social expectations. But maybe what really needs to happen is a change in social expectations.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There’s so much going on with autism. I am one of those who has been labeled with mild Asperger’s, as has my son. Having said that I don’t think I’m any better or worse than anyone else, autism or no. What I have found very troubling over the past sixteen years or so since I began trying to understand what was going on with our son, and in turn myself, is how the autism diagnosis has become more broad and more inclusive. In medicine it is always best to be as specific as possible so that the patient can be treated and helped as well as can be. I grew up in a medical family and worked in medicine for a time. Loose umbrella diagnoses were never an option for helping our patients. I think it’s a tragedy for everyone involved to have lost specificity for those who are now lumped into an autism diagnosis. Add to that the fact that entertainment is “popularizing” high functioning autism and it just makes the situation worse. What does a parent with an autistic child who is not high functioning say to those who don’t believe the diagnosis because the child isn’t like the autistic people on TV? I would absolutely love to see more specific diagnoses, not to divide us or to say anyone is better than anyone else, but to afford each and every one of us the treatment and assistance we might need because of the unique characteristics of our conditions. Now, having said that, if some knuckleheads on the internet want to wear their diagnosis like a badge of honor or superiority, nuts to them. They obviously have bigger problems than their diagnosis.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m someone who tends to use Aspergers as a label, at least when talking about it with other people simply because it more clearly sets expectations in the conversation. If I tell people I have autism they tend to expect something more along the lines ‘autism with learning/intellectual disabilities’, which is not the case for me. As you touch on, it’s more about the other person’s reaction and reduces the stigma around neurodivergence you experience.
    I realise it’s an opportunity to educate people about autism but I also can’t always bring myself to do so or previous signs of prejudice are discouraging me. The solution is, of course, a broader education of the public about autism and to reduce the stigma but there’s a long way to go.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Your thoughts on Aspie vs Autism reminds me of my own internalized stigma related to my changing mental health diagnoses. For many years I was diagnosed with chronic depression aka dysthymia. When my son was 2, my diagnosis changed to bipolar. Immediately I thought my son would be better off in day care than in my care. Just because my label changed. I had internalized the stigma that bipolar is worse than depression.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you for expressing that. It need to be said. I had heard the term but hadn’t gone as far as looking it up. I think as we grow as a community we will need to do what you have done in your audio and continually address the language we use and why we use it so that we remain an inclusive community.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi.
    You’re always great for starting the discussions that need to be had.

    I’ve not heard the term Aspie Supremacist but I tend to unfollow anyone that does not make me feel good because I cannot afford to have it impact my sense of self in real life, especially as I have two kids to prioritise, so I imagine I am not exposed to anyone who thinks of themselves supreme.

    However, I am hoping to give you another perspective from the ‘Aspie’ side. I actually don’t feel comfortable calling myself an Aspie however you might know my media name of HomoAspien. I liked the way Sapien could swap around to Aspien because that is exactly how I feel- a different kind of human. However it wrecks my head that technically it is Sapiens and Aspiens doesn’t make the cut- but on the ground most people assume that the S is plural so I decided to set aside my annoyance because I really liked HomoAspien. Anyway, sorry for the tangent, I always feel like I need to give wider context and I guess this is something I developed from experiencing my blunt communication being misunderstood my whole life. Anyway, what I am trying to say is I don’t actually identify as an Aspie however I respect that some people do.

    I prefer specifying my place under the umbrella. I think it is more thorough. Asperger’s is not my official diagnoses. Officially I am ASD-V but the psychiatrist did specify in the letter that I am Asperger’s, now known as ASD-V. In my health service, if I want to avail of services targeted toward Asperger’s adults I need to have ‘Asperger’s’ written on my DX. The health service uses the specificity as a way to ensure it is giving individuals the right service, even though the services they offer would not help me and are more suited to young adults.

    Diagnostically, for childhood services, children cannot avail of a service unless they have ASD-V on their DX, even if Asperger’s or ‘high functioning’ has been specified and then the health services assess them individually to see what services they need. I actually think this is better as it means people are treated as individuals and given support based on who they are rather than what they are. Which is why I understand that, going forward, the umbrella is more efficient in personalising support.

    I also find there is less social stigma surrounding being an Asperger’s adult. I was only DX’d last May so I still feel quite vulnerable and am slowly but surely trying out ‘I am autistic’ with different people and as I am sure you are aware yourself the reaction if very different to ‘I am Asperger’s’. I need to protect myself because I have two young children and with the stigma and misunderstanding around Autism, I have a deep drive to hold back for fear that someone will deem me an unsuitable parent.
    I feel you understand all of this and you did say at the start of your audio that you’re not aiming the conversation at people who are comfortable identifying Asperger’s who do not think they are supreme. I don’t feel like I need to defend my preference for specificity to you but I want you to know where I am coming from before I add to the conversation. This is what I want to add:

    Sometimes I feel like there is a divide between two fragments of one culture (#actuallyautistic “vs” #aspie) that is starting to become toxic and there are people (on both sides) who respect all variants within neurodiversity but have found their specific identity within the culture. I find when I drop the Asperger’s or Aspie, I get more people responding to me. When I add Asperger’s or Aspie to my tags, I get very little response. I get silence. I feel excluded from #actuallyautistic and #neurodiversity because I refuse to drop my #aspergers. No one has ever directly told me this. This is just a pattern I have noticed and recognise that my AS tendancy to deduce a conclusion from patterns and analyses can lead to untrue speculations. However this makes me feel that there is a division out there and took the opportunity to bring this observation I have had for quite a while now to your attention when I listened to your audio. I think you are very influencial in the autistic community and I am hoping that if you add my perspective to your own observations of ‘Aspie Supremiscism’ that you might help me work out a way to bridge the gap and make us stronger, as a group.

    Activism is squashed by division. Autistic activism will struggle if it does not include all people within it’s culture. Asperger’s identifiers are still valid. Even Asperger’s people who are under some illusion that they are supreme over Autistic people are valid autistics. Being autistic does not make one immune to human ignorance. To me, they need extra love. They need the tolerance and safety to be held in a safe space that will support them to accept their full selves- including their limitations. There is a similar division between autistics and parents of autistics. A division between late diagnosis autistics and lifelong DX’s autisitcs. Late Diagnosis autistic women and society, professionals and advocates of autism. Division squashes activism. I support people who identify with #actuallyautistic and #neurodiverstiy and I support people who identify with #aspergers and #aspie. I support people who say they are HF autistic or LF autistic (even though I personally am not comfortable with HF and LF). I support ‘people with autism’ even though I can’t understand how they are ‘with’ it. I support parents of children who are non verbal, who are trying their best. I support people who speak out against ignorance of autism- especially if it the ignorance is from a parent or advocate doing their best, but their best is damaging. I support professionals who are open minded to the fact that they’ve barely scratched the surface of autism.

    But who am I really? I am an advocate for neurodiversity. That is what I believe in- to me, that is the bigger picture. Being DX’d ASD-V specifically Asperger’s puts me in a box that humanity can accept. After spending my life not fitting in to any box and leaving humans feeling threatened by me, I find great rest in my Asperger’s.

    Also, I am not twice exceptional. I am co-morbid ADHD which deeply effects the way I learn. I am only learning that now after 30+ years of pretending I am learning the way they are teaching and then going off and teaching myself and then pretending that their teaching was what taught me. I am guessing that is why I am not an Aspie Supremacist.

    God I am so tired.

    Liked by 3 people

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