“The idea that it’s a survival skill for children of Autistic parents to “act Aspie” is a poor characterization at best. Children will undoubtedly pick up characeterstics from their parents by nature. However, using the term SURVIVAL SKILL means that they cannot survive without picking up those characteristics.” - Melody Latimer
Please share (and read of course) this. Too many people just point at Attwood as a “good” source, completely unaware of some of the horrible and damaging things he says.
While I’m not a fan of this statement, isn’t it true that, for example, hearing children of deaf parents often need extra speech therapy because they pick up on their parents’ speech patterns and pronounciations? I know that it’s not entirely equal, but I don’t think that Attwood is completely wrong in this. My son picks up on the behavior of his sister, who is considered to be more severe on the spectrum than he is.
I’m not saying that I agree with his statement; it’s definitely not okay, but it has a little grain of truth in it. Child development is about both biology and environment. I don’t think that you can make someone autistic, of course, but can neurotypical kids pick up one or two autistic traits from their parents? Sure they can.
I’m not sure if you clicked through to Melody’s article? It’s the framing them as survival skills and pointing behaviors like this as something unusual or whatever that is the issue.
Basic social psych principles say that a person in a social environment is likely to acquire mannerisms that are present in their environment. It’s a fairly well documented phenomena. For example Acquiring an accent, eating/sleeping times, and common approaches to what is appropriate physical contact are all things that one can have integrated into how you do things provided you are present in a culture long enough. More so if you are a child. And people have varying levels of vulnerability to socialization efforts than others.
It’s the cultural socialization of a child (in this case), and certain elements of that culture is the culture within their family in addition to other groups, from church to regional to national. This is a natural part of how cultural ideas- aka, “memes”- are perpetuated and morph over time. It’s the basic elements that allow for anthropologists (I’m an amateur one merely because I can’t afford education) to study a culture over time.
The problem is that he’s creating a meme that says that memes learned or begun by Autistic parents are harmful, are survival skills rather than a set of socializations like any other, or are some thing that one needs a “relief” from. Attwood’s statements blatantly ignore the sociological and anthropological facts of the matter, and thus pathologizes a very normal and indeed natural part of the human experience.
Indeed, it ignores that cultures are more than mass culture which is not only short sighted, but creates flaws that can be dangerous for specific populations.
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