Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Acceptance of neurological differences

When I learned about what doctors like the infamous Dr. Money used to do to babies born with an extra y or x chromosome I was horrified. I agreed with movements to leave well enough alone, without trying to slice or dice one gender or another into existence. So now that a similar movement is underway by autistic individuals, I am mesmerized. And I found myself unexpectedly in a student relationship with someone who says he had been diagnosed as autistic.

First a bit of background:

And then the original video:

So I had watched this only recently and it sparked a good dinner table discussion with my husband. He pointed out, informed by the work of Ian Hacking, that autism is not unlike what was once considered possession, or schizophrenia, the idiot savant or even multiple personality. Now we have aspergers and autism to help qualify what could be considered neurological diversity. (Okay its very late on Sunday night, tax preparation has stolen my weekend, and you might argue that two glasses of wine have robbed my reason.)

In the middle of this, I was trying to organize the move and further development of our virtual Guantanamo Bay in Second Life. Annenberg has kindly donate 8 acres and we are supposedly getting a plug in Vanity Fair's online edition for the May issue which will feature a piece on Guantanamo Bay. While discussing the use of an existing structure with its builder, Matt Lee, a fellow whose Second Life name is Cinco Pizzicato overheard me say that I needed the exterior of a c17 transport plane. He offered to give it a shot. It was only later that i checked his profile to learn of his interest in autism and aspergers. He later told me that he had been diagnosed as autistic.

In the last few days he has nearly completed the exterior of the plane. He has taught me some machinima tricks. He has given me some wonderful second life tools. He has been kind and friendly. He has put me in awe on more than on occasion.

It is a journey worth exploring. I am considering whether it wouldn't make an excellent documentary film - much of it filmed in Second Life.

No comments: