March 14, 2006
Social Skills vs. Social Conformity
Lately I’ve been reading autism blogs- and one thought that has struck me is how professionals & parents of autistic kids confuse the issue of social skills with conformity. Case in point-Kit Weintraub
“Ms. Weintraub’s son, Nicholas, has benefited greatly from A.B.A., she said, and she is unapologetic about wanting to remove his remaining quirks, like his stilted manner of speaking and his wanting to be Mickey Mouse for Halloween when other 8-year-olds want to be Frodo from “The Lord of the Rings.”
Now I can understand, and support helping autistic folks get help in learning better social skills. We all need them to get along with others and survive in the world. But you can have good or passable social skills and still be “different” or eccentric. People might make fun of you, but that’s their problem not yours. My parents, while helping me improve social skills as a kid, appreciated my uniqueness. But then they are both rather eccentric as well- as are many parents of autistics- it has to come from somewhere doesn’t it? Unfortunately, other autistics are stuck with parents who want not just a kid that can function in a neurotypical society- but one who totally conforms to it.
The Autism Society really needs to discourage this- hmm- we need a national “It’s Ok to be Eccentric” campaign.
Ref: How About Not Curing Us