Neurotypicalism is a life-long disorder. People who are neurotypicalistic are capable of learning independently, fending for themselves, and developing peer relationships; however, these capabilities often result in apparent insensitivity to the strengths and needs of the non-neurotypicalistic population, as well as poor communication skills (which this group refers to as good communication skills). People who are neurotypicalistic refer to this disability as "normally functioning".
More than 90% of the world's population is neurotypicalistic. As a consequence, society is largely set up for people with neurotypicalism and primarily shuts out the non-neurotypicalistic population.
CHARACTERISTICS OF NEUROTYPICALISM
1. INSENSITIVITY TO THE REALITIES OF HUMAN BEINGS This is most evident in government-run institutions. The neurotypical people in charge may express interest only in enforcing sets of unrelated rules despite the strengths and needs of clients.
Example #1: Mark, who was an Asperger, wanted more than anything to work with elderly people in a nursing home. He had been majoring in rehabilitation in a local community college. Although he successfully completed the academic parts of the program, students were required to complete practicums, in which they worked in a real job setting. Students were expected to learn how to perform duties through class lectures and exams, and they were required to function at the professional level by the end of the practicums, which were two to four weeks long. Mark benefited little from lectures, written assignments, and exams, but was quite capable of learning through hands-on experience.
In order to complete his practicums, Mark required a coach to guide him until he was able to function professionally, without supervision. In addition, he required unlimited time to complete the practicum. Unfortunately, the college staff, who were neurotypicalistic, refused to provide Mark with the above services and claimed that they were not at liberty to do so. As a consequence, he did not graduate from the rehabilitation course.
Mark then appealed to the Human Rights Commission. The neurotypicalistic people in charge engaged in a long investigation process in which they obtained information from the college staff regarding the reason why Mark was denied services. The Human Rights staff showed little interest in Mark's side of the story, but claimed that it was their policy to base their decision regarding whether or not to take action on the college administrators' side of the story only. As a result, they dismissed the complaint after reading Mark's file, because "they were satisfied that he was denied services".
Example #2: A neurotypicalistic-run society for autism in one city organized a summer program for children with autism, or Asperger children. Art, who was an Asperger, was quite capable of working with autistic children. However, the program was set up so that a car would be required to drive the children around (as if cars cost a dollar a dozen!), because, according to the supervisors, "using public transportation was time-consuming". If one had a low income and couldn't possibly afford a car, tough toenails! It didn't mean a thing to the administrators that cars cost thousands and thousands of dollars!
Art was able to work with the program once a week, on group days (on other days, the workers would be left alone with the children, and they would have to drive them around). He was known for his excellent rapport with young children, particulary non-neurotypicalistic children. But because there was no way he could afford the required car, he had no chance in the world for a promotion. And all because the autism society staff were far more concerned about enforcing the requirement of owning a mercilessly expensive and difficult-to-maintain car than Art's excellent ability to work with children. Similarly, Marcia, who also worked for the summer program on group days, could not be hired to work full-time, even though she possessed all the necessary skills, because she didn't own a @#%*@ car!
Example #3: Tyler, who is an Asperger, was bullied by some kids in the washroom at school. Following this incident were his sessions with his speech therapist and guidance counselor. Tyler needed someone to talk to right away. Unfortunately, his 30 minutes of speech therapy came first. When he started talking about the problem with Mrs. Redekopp, she cut him off and said, "You can talk about your personal problems only to Mrs. Dahlem. I am your speech therapist: I can only help you with your language skills." Mrs. Redekopp, a woman with neurotypicalism, was only concerned about her own duties, never mind that there was a kid in distress!
2. INABILITY TO EXPRESS ONESELF CLEARLY Many people with neurotypicalism tend to speak in long, complex sentences in which a great number of words are used but very little information is gained. This is particularly evident among college lecturers. As well, people demonstrate an inability to talk clearly when writing instructions in a textbook or for operating pieces of technology, e.g., VCRs, computers, etc. Many non-neurotypicalistic people describe these instructions as being written in Finnish, Hungarian, or even Martian. In addition, neurotypicalistic business persons attending meetings or conferences tend to be unable to speak clearly.
3. INAPPROPRIATE USE OF LANGUAGE Neurotypicalistic English includes words and terms whose meanings do not match their origins. The following are examples of the version of English spoken by the neurotypicalistic population:
Example #1: A large cooking pot is often referred to as a Dutch oven, even though it is neither from the Netherlands nor an oven.
Example #2: "Quite a few" is a common neurotypicalistic English term. Quite means completely and a few means a little; yet, when neurotypicalistic people say "quite a few", they mean a lot, not completely little.
Example #3: People often refer to decorating a Christmas tree as trimming a Christmas tree, even though they don't cut the tree at all.
Example #4: A hamburger patty is often referred to as a hamburger steak or a Salisbury steak, even though it isn't a true steak. At one particular time, a teenage boy who was living in a poor family had hamburger patties for supper all the time. He was sick, sick, sick of them. Anyway, he saved his money for months to go out for a steak. Finally, when the time came, he ordered a Salisbury steak. Imagine how disappointed the poor kid felt when it came and it turned out to be a hamburger patty! Why call a stupid hamburger patty a steak!
Example #5: Summer day programs held in urban community centres are commonly called "camps", even though they don't involve any camping at all, or even going out into the country. These day programs are really boring day care, in which there may be extended periods of time sitting around, doing nothing at all.
Example #6: A neurotypicalistic person writing an American History textbook might write, in a list of questions, "On what grounds did Truman fire Governor MacArthur?", meaning "Why did Truman fire Governor MacArthur?", even though Truman probably didn't do the firing on any geographical grounds.
Example #7: Neurotypicalistic people tend to say things that they don't mean. For example, a woman may say that her husband brings home the bacon when she means that he earns enough money to feed his family, even though her husband usually doesn't buy bacon.
4. INAPPROPRIATE LAUGHING AND/OR NOISE The majority of neurotypicalistic people tend to laugh when nothing is funny. In addition, these people may talk and laugh loudly and make other kinds of unnecessary noise.
Example #1: At a wedding reception, the groom's father may read several pages of eenie-meenie-minee-moe about the bride and groom to the audience. The neurotypicalistic people present will engage in laughing, even though there is very little to laugh about.
Example #2: A person who is supposed to be very funny may tell ding-dong-doh about the U.S. Congress or the Canadian Prime Minister to an audience. Even though there is nothing funny about it, the audience of neurotypicalistic people will laugh.
Example #3: A group of neurotypicalistic people may lack the initiative to control their volumes when talking and/or laughing. As well, they may pound their fists on the table.
(POUND, POUND, POUND)
This tendency is most commonly observed at meetings, gatherings, and parties (particularly consisting of young adults) held in pubs. Many non-neurotypicalistic people describe the above noise as sounding like lions. (Daniel must have experienced something like that when he was in the lion den.) As well, this weakness is prevelant in young people's house-warming parties which (usually) consist of "booze". If you receive an invitation to a party and you don't wish to hang out with people getting drunk and acting boisterous, steer clear of those which state "B.Y.O.B." or are advertised as being held in a pub.
5. INAPPROPRIATE ORGANIZATION OF RULES Neurotypicalistic people who are in charge will often make or enforce rules that are considered by many non-neurotypicalistic people to be "missing the point".
Example #1: An employer who posts a job opening might list inappropriate qualifications for the job, such as "Minimum of 5 years' experience required", "Must be receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits", "Must be a student", etc.
Example #2: Job supervisors often post inappropriate dress codes to employees, e.g., refusing brown shoes with blue slacks, requiring workers at Rogers Video to wear denim shirts, requiring taxi drivers to wear tan slacks, etc. Similarly, one inappropriate dress code typical of high schools involves requiring physical education students to wear the same colour of gym shorts and T-shirts, e.g., red T-shirts and black shorts.
Example #3: After passengers who are bound for the United States clear customs in Canadian airports, they are not allowed to return to the main terminal, because, as the customs officials state, once they clear customs, they are part of the United States.
Example #4: Many shops require customers to leave all bags at the counter, even though they are being electronically monitored. Because there are black-and-white checked tiles on the floor? Beats any non-neurotypical person.
6. STEREOTYPING THE NON-NEUROTYPICALISTIC POPULATION People with neurotypicalism often run facilities to accomodate non-neurotypicalistic people. They claim that they know everything about the non-neurotypicalistic population (most evident in doctors). As well, they take only one approach to all clients and are insensitive to the strengths and needs of individual clients.
Example #1: In a group home for autistic people that is run by neurotypicalistic people, John is not allowed to go out on his own, even though he is quite capable, because, according to the neurotypicalistic population, "autistic people are not independent".
Example #2: Neurotypicalistic people often run sheltered workshops for non-neurotypicalistic people. In these workshops, the employees, often referred to as "clients", do ding-dong-doh like stuffing envelopes, packaging emergency blankets, assembling golf clubs, etc. for seven or eight hours a day. They have little chance of promotions, even though they could be more capable of doing more rewarding work, because the neurotypicalistic believe that "that is all that disabled clients" (non-neurotypicalistic people) "can do."
Example #3: In day programs for the non-neurotypicalistic, the neurotypicalistic people who run them might treat the members like little children. For example, they might take teenagers or adults to play on playground equipment or to the children's department of the public library. Or they might have adult members listen to Raffi, Fred Penner, or Sesame Street albums. Or worse, they might read easy children's books to members who are in their twenties. And all because those neurotypicalistic people believe that the members of the day programs can only do those things, even though many of them may like country music, Robin Williams movies, symphony, etc.
Example #4: The reason why most facilities to accomodate non-neurotypicalistic people are run by neurotypicalistic people is because most neurotypicalistic people don't believe that the non-neurotypicalistic are any more capable of running these facilities than a five-year-old is of running a school board. On the contrary, however, non-neurotypicalistic people who know a great deal more than the neurotypicalistic will ever know could be very good at running institutions for the non-neurotypicalistic. The reason being is that they understand what it is like to be non-neurotypicalistic; therefore, they are often capable of making the best judgements.
7. INAPPROPRIATE USE OF MONEY Neurotypicalistic people who run businesses often spend money on building and technology and are insensitive to the needs of living creatures.
Example #1: In one city, the public school board claimed that it could not provide services for non-neurotypicalistic students due to lack of funding. Around that time, the school board had an ultra-modern school board office built for the administrators. It cost tens of millions of dollars. The money could have instead helped millions of non-neurotypicalistic children. However, the school board claimed that whenever funding was low, special education services were the first to go.
Example #2: During the mid-20th century, neurotypicalistic business workers in Arizona had dams built across the Colorado and Salt Rivers to make mountains of money. This has resulted in excessive damage to the Arizona countryside, as well as severe water shortage for the Aboriginal people who have lived along the rivers.
Example #3: The Canadian government has recently passed a law in which if one receives a package from another country with a value over a certain amount, he/she must pay a duty-free tax, which may be as much as $80.00. If that person is poor, so what?
Example #4: Airline passengers departing from Vancouver International Airport must pay a so-called "Airport Improvement Fee" of ten dollars.
8. POOR LISTENING SKILLS People with neurotypicalism are often insensitive to the opinions of other people. They are bent on obtaining their own ways, and in many cases, will cut other people off if they attempt to express their opinions. For example, Mark (see Section 1: Insensitivity to the Realities of Human Beings) explained his individual needs. The college professional cut him off and claimed that "the department was not at liberty to provide alternative services".
9. ISOLATING THE NON-NEUROTYPICALISTIC This tendency is most commonly observed in large groups.
Example #1: 26-year-old Shelley, who is an Asperger, was attending a young people's church group. There were about twenty people in the group, all of whom were neurotypicalistic. One person was talking about ump-bitty-ump-bitty-ump-bump-fizz and five people were listening, while another person was talking about minny-monny-moongah-ganga-dinky-danky-doh and four people were listening, and so forth. There was not a single person in the group who wasn't listening to the nonsensical talk who Shelley could relate to individually. In other words, not a soul in the group bothered to interact with Shelley on a one-to-one basis, so she was treated as though she were invisible.
Example #2: Jonathan, a ten-year-old Asperger boy, enjoyed very much playing games involving turn-taking, or other predictable games such as hide-and-seek. However, the neurotypical children in his neighbourhood were only interested in unpredictable games, such as baseball and soccer. Rather than helping Jonathan to learn how to play the games or playing predictable games with him, the kids responded to him as much as they would a statue on a pedestal. In other words, they ignored him, or made up lies and excuses, e.g., "Your mom said you're not allowed to play soccer with us", "No, Jon, you'll get hit with the ball", etc.
Copyright© 2010 The Stonking Steps, All Rights Reserved.