Blog Post 12

As I was searching through WordPress trying to find a blog, I kept seeing recommendations for a post titled “Why Social Skills Training Does Not Help Autistic People”, by the Autistic Science Person. I felt as though this was a sign for me to investigate the site. The creator of the blog is named Ira, and they are “an autistic self-advocate and graduate student in auditory neuroscience”. The site is primarily written to connect with those with autism/disabilities and to educate parents and professionals on autism. I was drawn to the blog page because I have a brother on the autism spectrum, and I thought it would be interesting to compare my personal experience over the past 18 years to what Ira is writing about. Ira uses mainly informative elements as they advocate for disabled individuals and educate readers on autism itself. The most interesting post to me was the one that drew me to the website, “Why Social Skills Training Does Not Help Autistic People”. Ira reviews a worksheet meant to help improve social and behavioral thinking and criticizes it for its ineffectiveness in the autistic community. The expectations mapped out on the worksheet include several that many autistic individuals struggle with within social settings, such as eye contact and body language. As there is no adapting these expectations to those on the spectrum it often leads to the “masking” – where they become anxious about their own responses as well as the responses of others. I thought it was particularly enlightening when they said “We’re already told and shown every day that who we are is difficult, too much, uptight, unfun, boring, or pedantic. We don’t need to be told that who we are needs to be packaged in a prettier bow to make friends”. This relates to the larger issue of acceptance and inclusion of the disabled. The disabled are rarely portrayed in popular media and if they are, it is always with a healthy dose of pity.  Movies fail to portray people with autism realistically. They either bring in too much sadness or pathos or make it seem almost shocking that they might live a ‘normal’ life or fall in love. Ira calls for change in these standards, highlighting they aren’t asking to fit in and conform to what society wants but instead to be accepted and comfortable expressing themselves and their differences. I thought this was valuable to read about especially relating to my brother. It helped me to understand why he struggles in social settings and in maintaining friendships and really emphasize that he has to approach things differently than I do.

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