exploitation

 

Hiring!

NOW (not) HIRING!

Autism-focused organisation. Autism-specific job. Non-autistic director suddenly thinks it is a good idea to jump on the ‘inclusive’ bandwagon and hire an Actually Autistic person for the job. Great going so far.

BUT

Instead of hiring a qualified Autistic person with a PhD / Masters / Degree / skill qualification for the highly complex job, the non-autistic director gets an Autistic person with no qualifications to do the same job for free. No pay. Yes. Nothing.

Imagine, a hospital looking for a heart surgeon hiring just anyone from the street with an avid interest to do the job for free, instead of a qualified surgeon with years of experience? Sounds too ridiculous to even think of? Well, this happens a lot in Autism organisations run by non-autistics. DIY hobby-land free-for-all?

A horrible situation. Autistics are exploited on all levels, and forced also to devalue one another. The unqualified Autistic eager to jump in and do the job for free is hoping for some recognition and an unconfirmed promise for some kind of paid work in the future. They do not realise that they are being exploited and derided, and that doing this is ultimately harming a fellow autistic who is qualified for the job, having worked very hard for many years to gain the relevant credentials against immense odds. Even more insidious and ominous is the result of this: low professional standards, thus services proffered are inadequate at best, and erroneous at worst. What are ‘Autism-focused’ organisations offering to autistic people, and what are they saying in so doing?

Too many non-autistic people entering the currently trendy Autism Market are blatantly making money and gaining fame on the Autism Bandwagon, while tossing out substandard services, stirring strife and disharmony in the Autistic community, and making a mockery of the very people they are supposed to serve.

Shame.

Shame.

Shame.

So much shame.

And pain.

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hello?

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Self Portrait circa 2007 by Dawn-joy Leong

It’s Autistics Speaking Day. I didn’t know there even was such a thing, until I saw my Facebook feed flooded with it, by various Autism advocacy groups and pages that I’ve subscribed to.

Righto. So. Speaking of speaking. I posted this long ramble the other day, about my struggle with a certain person regarding respecting my preferred mode of communication, “gaseous exudations.” While it does seem on the surface as if nothing but an angry rant, and perhaps some of you NT folk may be even slightly (or more than slightly? who knows?) offended by the blunt-speak, it’s actually a very serious issue, and a deeply painful yet far too common feature of Autistic life. Continue reading

accommodating Self

 

Yesterday afternoon, a friend took me to a little nooky cafe, tucked inside an industrial estate. A former hardware shop, the entrance decorated with eclectic vintage clutter served as a thematic introduction to the atmosphere within. As soon as we pushed open the creaky door, I felt a draft of musty, humid, cool air blow directly into my face, then wrap around me like a nebulous mouldy snake. My skin tingled, as my olfactory senses picked up the various miasmic odours emanating from each visually charming piece of history on display.

The waiter ushered us towards the back. Slipping within a split second into a bubble of wordlessness, I followed obediently, semi-somnambulant, my sensory system already engaged in a (routine) contrapuntal wrestling match with the onslaught of smells, sights, and sounds. As we were about to sit down at the allocated table, speech suddenly returned, and words fell out of my mouth like marbles, tumbling down and bouncing sharply against the concrete floor.

“I don’t want to sit here, it smells funny. I don’t like the smell here.”

Continue reading

dehydration

Yesterday, I tried valiantly, and with great determination, to return a faulty dishwasher. The person on the other end remained stolid. It was I, not the dishwasher, that was the anathema, the malfunctioning entity. There was much spewing of verbiage completely irrelevant to my pleas, throwing of sparkly dust hither-thither and blowing of bizarre smelling fumes into my face. Exhausted and worn out to the very crisp core, I finally threw in the proverbial towel, recognising this as an exercise of futility.  I threw out the dishwasher. It now sits, sad and forlorn, in the junk heap. I swear, when I walked past this morning, I saw a malevolent snigger painted across its glass face.

This morning, Lucy woke me up at 6am, asking to be taken outside for our morning walky. Without her, I am not sure I would have the strength to get out of bed, even though sleep, most of the time, is pretty much like the spawn from a trashy, poorly written novel and an elusive goblet of sweet wine.

My eyes hurt. A stabbing pain. My skull throbs. A vice across the front squeezing intermittently. My brain is screeching a high pitched, dehydrated and incomprehensible sprechstimme.

It’s still April. Yes, I did check.

This Autism Awareness thingy, and the chorus of dissent from the actually Autistic community (justified and worthy of support), has already kicked a deep dent into my fragile construction of Clement Space.

Today, I just want to celebrate April as Adopt a Greyhound Month. Please.

Here, I present to you, Lucy Like-a-Charm in Sonorous Repose. A collection of photos I created in 2015, about her innate ability to identify, take possession of, and craft intimate spaces of comfort and calm, wherever she may go. A skill I very much want to learn.

Lucy Like-a-Charm in Sonorous Repose 2015

Available as limited edition prints. Enquiries welcome.

Greyhounds are such pulchritudinous creatures. Adopt a Greyhound this April! Bring back beauty into your life, Oh, Weary Soul!

(Or, perhaps you might want to bring one of these limited edition prints into your home? It would help an Autistic Bunny and her Greyhound Angel to procure much needed rations for survival of April BlahBlah Month!)

Autism Acceptance?

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Autism MeetUp 2016, UNSW Art & Design

Community service announcement:

Dear organisations jumping on the Autism Bandwagon. You really need to do better than “everyone else” if you wish to win the trust and confidence of Actually Autistic people. That is IF you truly wish to be inclusive (as you so claim) and learn about intrinsic autistic modalities and paradigms, in order to properly support autistic people in respectful ways. This is the ‘homework’ you need to do BEFORE asking autistic people to do freebie work for your ’cause’. Show us that you are worthy of our efforts. Any other is at best mere tokenism, and at worst exploitation. Add to that, spreading harmful misinformation.

#actuallyautistic #autismacceptance #nothingaboutuswithoutus

Continue reading

bump!

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Meltdown

It’s Wednesday. Midweek. Lucy and I hit a few bumps along the road today.

This morning, as if she somehow had an inkling of what lay ahead, Lucy was less happy than usual to get out of bed for her early morning breakfast. During our little walk around the block, she was sniffing around a familiar patch of grass, when she stopped, walked very deliberately to the gate leading to a gallery where I had held my first exhibition, and stood at the gate. She resolutely refused to move from that position, even turning away from her favourite lamb puff treat when I tried to persuade her. “It’s locked, honey, we can’t go in from here.” She usually understands this, and will follow me thereafter, but Lucy stood frozen to the spot, as if in a mini, silent meltdown. Her nose began to drip, another sign of distress. I checked her all over to make sure she hadn’t suffered any injury, or stepped on glass shards etc. All ok. Something must have triggered in her mind. A sensory issue? An olfactory memory? She seemed insistent on going inside via that particular gate. Or perhaps she was just reacting to the big change of being back with me after 2 months at ‘holiday camp’ with my lovely friends Jan and Pete, and their five dogs?  Continue reading

vomitus

KatFury painting

“Portrait of Dawn-joy” by Kateryna Fury

(Photograph: Work-in-progress for 2013 exhibition, “Roaring Whispers,” featuring digital painting by Kateryna Fury, autistic paraplegic artist with Ehlas Danlos Syndrome, framed and installed by Dawn-joy Leong.)

This post may be incoherent. Babbly. Erratic. That is because wordedness is failing me right now, there is a huge chunk of festering goop hurtling around in rabid mockery inside my verbal brain. Forgive me. I hope the message somehow transcends my lack of worded ability.

Disabilities is becoming a cute little pop-up-trend for inspiration porn these days. Take a look at this article, “We are not here for your inspiration.

It’s been weighing on my mind for a few days now, ever since that day, that horribly disappointing experience, which sent me into a spiral of despair. A thick, glutinous blob of nausea wedged between diaphragm and stomach. And a sinking feeling… Continue reading

all about me without me

photo-2

silent sonnet

A music symposium about music and disability, but no musician with disability represented. No voice of our own.

A prestigious art-work about disabilities, for people with disabilities, but not a single artist with disability in sight. All very ‘high-quality’ mind you, as if to say that disabled artists do not and cannot produce works of similar ‘high quality’ to serve our own community? No voice of our own. Continue reading

a name I call myself

There does not seem to be an equally heated (and ferociously foolish) argument in any other context within the normative social sphere about what people wish to call themselves, so why is identity-first vs. person-first preference in autism such a ridiculously aggrandised and dramatic squabble among non-autistic persons?

All in the name of political correctness, which is such an irony that the non-autistic PC (politically correct) police do not seem to understand – or just stubbornly do not wish to acknowledge. (The latter is far more sinister than the former.) Surely it is more politically incorrect to insist on calling someone by a name they DO NOT wish to be called by? Is this a conspiracy of the deficits-focused overground social colonialists fearing an eventual autistic world domination (should they as much as acknowledge us for what we wish to be recognised for), or is it just plain and simple flabbergasting ludicrousness?

Right… why the rant? Well, it sort of builds up every now and then, like those giant cyst-like pimples that come and go, as nature’s way of blighting your life, you know those? Usually the culprit is my terrible penchant for reading comments on FB or blogposts, and getting caught up in the horrific pompous ignorance displayed by the general non-autistic populace about autism. Sometimes I do try to put in my two cents’ worth of advocacy / education, but mostly, I just become upset and do this babble-rant thing.

Here’s my most recent one (rant, that is):

Hear ye! Hear ye!!!! People! People! People! EDUCATED people! Educated people who work in the disabilities field! Educated people who work with autistic people! HEED THIS PLEASE!!!

We are autistic. We are not ‘persons-with-autism.’ Unless the individual specifically tells you they do not wish to identify as autistic (and I do have a view on this but it’s not part of my rant), then PLEASE do try your very best not to impose your preconceived notions of what is respectful or politically correct on us. Give us that amount of respect to know what we wish to be referred to, please, please very kindly.

If you really wish to be politically correct, then PLEASE go do some research on current political correctness!!! The internet is available to you, the information is free and readily accessible! From ASAN, autism advocates’ webpages, to (yes, gasp!) recent research studies in neuroscience (check out Michelle Dawson – an actually autistic researcher – gasp gasp gasp!!!) !!!!!!

Non-autistic people claiming to be experts/professionals working in the field of autism can often (not always but often) be the MOST annoying know-it-alls. Next up are the self-styled ‘educated’ folk who try to tell me, an autistic person and researcher in the field of autism with an almost PhD, what I should want to be called!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

—- Rant brought to you courtesy of the wonderful internet and my silly tendency to even bother to read the comments that people vomit out as a by-way-of reflex activity (not unlike burping and belching) underneath some really wonderful FB posts about autistic persons —-

Oh hey, here too is my own take on the grand circus that should not be: Identity First by Dawn-joy Leong.

The video clip? Well, that’s just a stim that stuck in my head, added here for whimsical weird effect, ala Bunnyhopscotch twisty humour. Enjoy! 🙂