08 February, 2010


This scene makes me think of my fifth-grade teacher:

Picture of a scene from a Battlestar Galactica episode. A guy, Gaius Baltar, has just emerged from a burning plane and looks completely lost in thought. Another guy has grabbed Gaius's face and is yelling at him to try to get his attention.

I don't have much to say, just this. I am in a disability studies class; I don't know what I think so far. The professor has never taught a disability studies class before and I think we're supposed to figure out for ourselves what we want to write a paper on.

I want to write a paper on infiltration. I don't like for people to talk to me in a way that makes me feel like that picture. And I can't do it to someone else, which in some people's minds makes me bad at ABA. I am quiet when I talk to people who are upset. I don't grab them by the shoulders and force them to walk in a less stimmy line. I want to infiltrate services for developmentally disabled people so that for the minutes or hours or days a person is with me, no one makes them feel like that. It's not everything but it's something and it could change something in them.

I'm afraid to talk. A lot of the time if you work with ASD kids, being normal is a qualification. It's obvious in the way they talk--you want to bring in normal kids to show the ASD kids what normal is like. You want to model normal ways of sitting and interacting. By definition, I'm not qualified for a lot of the jobs I want to do. Because it's all about us vs. them. I want to write a paper on us vs. them. Because I can't ever be us, the most I can be is a really good them who everyone looks at as a success story because I try really hard. But do I want to try hard? And do I want to "emerge" from them, so I can yell in their faces too? Not hardly.


  1. When Papa and I talk about - in general terms - the neurodiversity movement, we do mention infilitration.

    And Uncle Kevin hinted at it.

    Have a great time at Disability Studies class.

    Something like "This group is going to take over the neurotypicals".

    (It can be said as a joke, and it's not much of one.)

    The other concept related to infiltration (the political one) is probably entryism.

    And there's Donna Williams' whole idea of the war. Think of Somebody Somewhere where Williams and this girl Jody were in the pool. And when Williams and Michael went to the after-school centre.

    "NOR-MAL" Michael busted out.

    "Yes, Michael and Donna are normal," Williams said, as they were walking past these two girls.

    And Scientologists tried to enter a mental health organisation en masse, and were thrown out en masse.

    Ed None has a lot of good words about it, if you check his blog.

    The Standard Review by Ed None

    And none of the organisations are state-controlled as far as I can see, though they do receive state (and taxpayer) money. Goodwill and trust and thus forth.

    And in the early 1990s some people tried to infiltrate Autism Network International and spread rumours.

  2. Great post. It certainly fits with my experiences. I think a lot of people who go into the autism "treatment" business/special ed/etc. are not just normal, but hyper-normal--exaggerated facial expressions and vocal tones, a super-cheery, do-gooder-type personality. Just being around these people is overwhelming for me; I really feel for the kids who have to do hours of one-on-one ABA with them. I really wish the industry would actually consider bringing some neuro-atypical people into it.

    The (non-existent) regulation of ABA is deplorable. I see ads on Craigslist and other places all the time which are advertising for ABA therapists. Often they won't ask for qualifications other than a Psych degree and a vague stipulation about "experience working with autistic children." It is scary. Where are the stipulations about ethics?