And Stimming With Rainbows of Every Design

Monday, August 18, 2008

I just spent time at another residential-farm/institution's website reading the rationale for why agricultural life is good for autistics.

There's something I want to establish, for the record.

I am a city person.

Yes, I am autistic. But I am still a city person. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I love the concept of having access to university lectures, concerts, well-stocked libraries, groups of people (yes, autistic doesn't mean asocial), and convenient public transportation. I don't love being surrounded by loud noise and sirens at all hours, but I'd rather find a place not on a main throughway or find a way to handle it with earplugs/noise-cancelling-headphones/anything-else than live on a rural farm.

SAGE Crossing's rationale/justification for concept has no similarity to my experiences, and clashes horribly with my worldview in general (that we should create a culture of inclusion). Theoretically a rural setting might be "safer" for autistic-me. (But is it for someone with my chronic illness? I think me-with-cystic-fibrosis is far better off in a city with nearby medical facilities.)

And there is no way that I'm going to live in a farm just because I flap my hands. People who flap their hands are allowed in cities too, for the record. And if all people who annoyed other people were sent out to the countryside, there would soon be so few people in cities that they would no longer qualify as cities.

Also, what the hell does needing to be anesthetized for routine medical procedures have to do with needing to live on an institution-farm? It seems like SAGE Crossing is just throwing out random stuff about autistics and assuming that people will infer we can't be included in society based on these disconnected, irrelevant things.

The point of intentional communities is that they're *intentional.*

Bittersweet Farms is not an intentional community.

The point of intentional communities is that a person *intends* to live there. If they decide they no longer want to, they can leave. They make decisions about their own lives.

If a person is placed into a community by someone with greater power, forced to stay there unless the person with greater power moves them out, and has important decisions about their life made by those people in power, then they're not in an intentional community. They're in an institution.

Yes, even if it is on a farm. Yes, even if they are doing work on said farm.

And no, I will never willingly consider such a living arrangement for myself, even if I think intentional communities have the potential to be really cool, because Bittersweet Farms, and the Sacramento-area farm-institution in the very early planning stages are not intentional communities.

The rantling above was triggered by one of my parental units telling me that she was interested in attending the planning-discussion meeting because before she had met my father, she was considering living in an intentional commmunity. She and my father still want me to attend the meeting, because they think that maybe I could urge them to take autistic perspectives into account in this whole process.

Perhaps I'm just too cynical and jaded, but I'm not sure it's worth bothering. At most I can only realistically imagine an autistic getting a token role in this planning process. There's no way we can get a majority. Even if we did get a sizeable minority, the power structures will still be the same, and they're the most dangerous part of the whole thing.

Googling the name of the person in charge shows that they're a Rescue Angel and that they were somehow involved with the Green Our Vaccines Rally. I know what that means from an autism-science perspective, and I'm not happy with it, but I don't know if it would have any significance from an institution-masquerading-as-pseudo-utopian-community-planning perspective.