From time to time, I will post here news and information that is not neato in the flip sense of the word, but neato because it is notable, compelling, and impactful. This post by Lynne Soraya (a pseudonym) is one such article. Soraya has Asperger’s syndrome and blogs mostly from that point of view (thus, the name of the blog: Asperger’s Diary). She also is highly attuned to the experiences, feelings, and inner workings not only of those on the autism spectrum but also of the neurotypicals who love them.
Thinking About The Unthinkable displays Soraya’s keen insight and powerful writing style. And it made me cry, both from sadness and anger.
A brief summary here would not do the article justice, so I urge you to read it for yourself. Soraya challenges her readers to not “take the easy way out”; that is, she asks us to clearly confront “the unthinkable” and not imagine it away. The “unthinkable” here is exemplified by the dismissive attitudes expressed by many practicing professionals, educators, and “experts” toward those who are profoundly mentally ill or even those who are autistic — dismissing the “notion” that these people are aware and alive and possess a keen sensitivity that is sometimes not visible on the surface. She writes, “When you don’t believe a person thinks, or is sentient, it is the doorway for believing that they are not human.”
Next, Soraya confronts the lack of empathy so many neurotypicals (those who aren’t autistic) have regarding the pain and environmental sensitivity autistics face on a daily basis. This is a must-read not only for “experts” and those interested in autism in general (including Asperger’s syndrome) but also for those of us who love someone living on the autism spectrum.