Johnson, K.- Analysis 3

When doing my weekly analysis, I first like to read the blog posts from other people to try and touch on something that someone else hasn’t already covered. This week, that task was hard because I felt much similar to how Ashleigh was describing her feelings while reading these Silberman chapters. Any time Hitler or the Holocaust is brought up I (like many other people I’m sure) get very uncomfortable and angry. From previous history classes I of course already knew that Hitler and his “people” treated those with mental issues very poorly (poorly being an understatement). So, for my extended research this week I decided to dive in further with that idea and researched Hitler and how “autistic” people with other mental disabilities were treated. The first site I reached was another open blog site, with a proposed question: “How were autistic people treated in Nazi Germany?”. Seven bloggers decided to tackle the question. The first gentleman who responded decided to give a little history lesson with some detailed background. Just like Silberman wrote about in chapter 3, this blogger talked about how if the individuals who showed any sign of mental disability, they were lucky if they had the opportunity to land in Dr. Asperger’s clinic with Sister Viktorine. The man went on to say that, “In general, though, the Nazi approach – which Asperger abhorred – was to eliminate anyone deemed to be “defective” because they were seen as a waste of valuable resources better spent on looking after wounded soldiers” (Quora). Many other individuals touched on the same historic facts, but only a few mentioned Asperger and his outlook on the situation. One individual on the site mentioned that, “Hans Asperger  the doctor he identified the set of symptoms now associated with Asperger’s Syndrome suggested that little German Aspies were so smart they could be very useful to the regime and should be so  used. How ironic!” (Quora). I decided to think a little about the idea of that. Since this class started, I’ve already learned so much more about Autism and the spectrum than I ever knew before. The variety of readings, (fictional and non) have helped me tremendously. Going off of the thought of having those with “special” mental characteristics, I do believe that some of them could have been placed to work based on the special abilities they possessed. Just by watching “Rain Man”, I now have a visual of how some people who are on the spectrum have such great abilities that others who are not on the spectrum could never dream of having. Bouncing back to the Silberman chapters, I really enjoyed getting a deeper history on Asperger and his history. I of course knew what Asperger’s was (before they changed it), but found myself knowing very little about the man behind the name of the syndrome. I feel like reading in detail about his thoughts and feelings (and even actions) on wanting to really figure out the why’s and how’s of people with special abilities very intriguing. All of those details gave me a better understanding on the man behind the discoveries.

Citations:

https://www.quora.com/How-were-autistic-people-treated-in-Nazi-Germany

Silberman, Steven. “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity”

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One thought on “Johnson, K.- Analysis 3

  1. vanords

    It’s funny that you mention your tactic for reading other blog posts before you begin to be able to contribute something different because I also do the same thing. Commenting this week, I read both yours and Ashleigh’s to see who I had more to discuss with I suppose and I am a little stumped. Like you acknowledged, you and Ashleigh shared many of the same opinions and feelings in response to this week’s Silberman readings and I have to agree as well. With members of my family being directly affected by the holocaust, the mention of it or Hitler is definitely a trigger for anger and discomfort.
    I found it interesting this week though how you incorporated more research into the treatment of the mentally disabled during the holocaust in Germany. I found out things I hadn’t really considered before about Hitler and his “people” feeling the need to eradicate other imperfect individuals from his ultimate race. I thought it was interesting, and awful, that Nazi Germany considered most autistic individuals to be “defective”. I would have never thought of that label for them. The excavated grave cite found outside a mental institution dating from WWII was the big eye-opener in your analysis. We’ve learned throughout the class that of course there have been plenty of times in our American history where we didn’t appreciate individuals on the autistic spectrum or understand their potential. Beyond that, it was horrifying and heartbreaking to think of a time and place where their lives were so devalued that they were completely expendable.
    I agree as well that I’ve learned a great deal more about autism and the spectrum than I ever knew before taking this course. But different from most weeks, this week’s reading seemed to give me more information on the history of how the diagnosis came to exist for Asperger’s, the man who was behind it, as well as what it was like for the mentally disabled during his time of creating the diagnosis.

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