Author Archives: ashleighnfowler

Fowler, Analysis 5

In the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, author Mark Haddon writes, “ And I could hear that there were fewer people in the little station when the train wasn’t there, so I opened my eyes and I looked at my watch and it said 8:07 p.m. and I had been sitting on the bench for approximately 5 hours but it hadn’t seemed like
approximately 5 hours, except that my bottom hurt and I was hungry and thirsty” (180).
If you have ever been to London, you know that it is hectic. People are everywhere! If you go on the Tube during the workweek, you are packed in the Subway like sardines in a can. On the sidewalks, you better keep up with the pedestrian traffic or you’ll get knocked over. When I was in London, it was the week of Christmas. It wasn’t tourist season but the locals of London were getting their last minute Christmas shopping in. Oxford Street, the main shopping street in London, was busy and shops like Selfridges and Harrods were chaotic. London is a great city filled with history and culture, in fact it’s my favorite city in the world, but it can be a lot to handle because there are so many people.
Numerous times throughout the text, Christopher states that he doesn’t like crowds or strangers. If one doesn’t like crowds or strangers, one will not like London. Prior to reading the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, I never thought about how big cities aren’t really autism friendly. However, the services that are needed are for people with autism are located in big cities. According to Autism Speaks, the best places to live in the United States for people who have autism include; the greater New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and the Boston metropolitan areas. So, areas with large populations. Why are these areas the best? According to the study, the people who responded are pretty happy about educational services, proximity to outside services, flexible employer policies, access to medical care, and recreational opportunities. The services that are needed are in large cities but they still aren’t autism friendly. As we see in the text, metropolitan areas can cause a lot of stress for people with autism. As the Daily Mail states, living or even visiting a big city can be difficult. Many people with autism have deficits in language and social skills. Tasks such as shopping, asking for directions, planning a route, and navigating crowded areas can be difficult. However, things are changing. Numerous cities are becoming autistic friendly! For example, a student from Kansas State University, Elizabeth Decker, developed a toolkit to improve cities. Decker’s design is to connect public transportation and services with green areas, markets/shopping areas, and housing.
Cities have the services that people with autism need. However, they aren’t necessarily autistic friendly. However, things are changing and the world is slowly but surely becoming more suitable for people with autism.
Citations
https://www.autismspeaks.org/about-us/press-releases/10-best-places-live-if-you-have-autism

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2620656/The-city-designed-AUTISM-Planner-designs-urban-hub-make-transport-jobs-public-spaces-inclusive-brother.html#ixzz4PqDWt6id

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Fowler- Analysis 4

This is the second time that I have read “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. The first time, I really was interested in Chief Bromden and McMurphy but the second time reading the text, Nurse Ratched gained more of my attention. Numerous times, the novel states that Nurse Ratched was an army nurse. As far as I know, it doesn’t state when she was a nurse, so I decided to look into women serving in the Armed Forces during the 1950s. According to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, the 1950s was a rough time for women who served in the military. In 1948, President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. This act established a permanent place for women in the armed forces. However, due to the cultural norms of the time, the military had difficulty with the new law.  The military need (hu)manpower since the Korean War was about to begin but the viewpoint of the time stated that women weren’t supposed to be soldiers, they were supposed to be wives and mothers. Women who served during the 1950s had “pink collar” jobs. They held positions in personnel and administration and their basic training consisted of classes that focused on makeup and etiquette. Overall, women in the military had it hard during the 1950s. Women weren’t supposed to be soldiers but their country needed them. Women could serve but they couldn’t have certain careers. Nursing was a fine career to have because it is considered a “pink collar” job. So, Nurse Ratched had a job that was considered to be a feminine job but at the end of the day, she still lived in a man’s world and she needed to survive.  In the novel, Kesey writes, “Army nurses, trying to run an Army hospital. They are a little sick themselves”. Nurse Ratched was an army nurse! The military is a man’s world and in order for Nurse Ratched to survive in that hyper-masculine world, she needed to act like a man.  Nurse Ratched is considered to be cold and heartless, which she is, but she needed to be cold and heartless in order for her to do her job as an army nurse. The Nurse saw injured and dead men on a daily basis and this had to have a great impact on her.  As the saying goes, emotions can cloud one’s vision and when the vision is to heal men who were harmed in war, your vision can’t be clouded.  On top of that, both the military and society saw emotions as weakness. If the nurse’s emotions impacted her job (a very important job), then she would be considered weak.  It is not proper for one to be weak if they are in the military. If Nurse Ratched wanted to do her job correctly and survive in the military, she needed to be a cold and heartless women.

Nurse Ratched had an important job in the military and she had an important job outside of the military. The military taught Nurse Ratched to be cold and heartless and those ideas stuck with her. The novel takes place in 1962 and the second wave of feminism was just emerging. Women weren’t supposed to be the boss, but especially not the boss of men.  Nurse Ratched was in a position of power and the only way that she could gain power was by being a cold and harsh women( Side Note: I don’t know how she could be taken seriously by the men, if she wasn’t cold and heartless. How else could she have had that powerful of a position in a society that saw women just as wives and mothers? Maybe that’s a good question for class). The military institution harmed Nurse Ratched, just as the psychiatry institution harmed the men.

Another Side Note: While writing this, I was reminded of a “Humans of New York” post. You may or may not like Hillary Clinton, but I think the article is relevant to the text.

Citations

“1950s.” History and Collections: Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc., George Mason University, chnm.gmu.edu/courses/rr/s01/cw/students/leeann/historyandcollections/history/lrnmre1950s.html. Accessed 29 Oct. 2016.

Fowler, Ashleigh- Analysis 3

While reading the assigned readings for the week, there was numerous times where I had the urge to cry or to throw my book violently down on the floor. The text got to me.  I had an a range of emotions, varying from happiness to disgust and anger and then to sadness.  In chapter 3, my emotions ran rampant. In the beginning of the chapter, we meet Asperger and his colleagues at Heilpadagogik Station. We are introduced to Erwin Lazar who “instead of viewing the children as“patients,” he saw them as future bakers, barbers, farmers, professors, and engineers”(85). We end the chapter, with Silberman writing about eugenics and how the idea of eugenics led to child euthanasia and Aktion T-4.  For research, I decided to look further into child euthanasia and Aktion T-4. I went to my favorite website regarding research for the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a lot of the information seemed to be verbatim from Silberman’s text. However, there are some new facts to be presented ( Side Note: It gets depressing from here on). According to the United States Holocaust Museum, prior to the Final Solution, the euthanasia program was established and it was the Third Reich’s first program of genocide. It is safe to say that, the euthanasia program was the trial run of the Final Solution. Anyone who was seen as a burden to society due to their disabilities could have been victim to the program. It is estimated that 5,000 German children, aged birth to 17, were murdered. After the “success” of this program, the Third Reich expanded its euthanasia program.  This expansion would now include adults. In 1939, not only did Hitler sign a document that protected healthcare workers who participated in the euthanasia program from prosecution, a further document stated that the euthanasia program had to do with wartime efforts. Eventually this would lead to the creation of T-4 and of 6 gassing chambers. In the same year, T-4 planners sent questionnaires to all medical institutions.  These questionnaires were investigating a patient’s capacity to work and putting patients into four categories. The four categories include; people suffering from serious psychiatric/neurological disorders, people who were not of German or related descent, people who were criminally insane/those committed on criminal grounds, and people who have been instituted for more than five years.  These questionnaires would be sorted out and people would be destined to be sent to the gas chambers or not. The people who would be euthanized, would be murdered hours after arriving at the gas chambers. Between January of 1940 and August of 1941, an estimated 70,273 adults (this number just consists of German citizens, more people outside of Germany’s borders were killed) were murdered due to the euthanasia program. Gas chambers weren’t the only ways the Third Reich murdered their victims.Overdosing, lethal injection, and starvation were all common forms of murder. Outside of Germany and in Eastern Europe, SS troops and others murdered mentally and physically disabled patients in mass shooting or by gas vans. The euthanasia program and T-4 continued throughout WWII and it didn’t target those who were mentally or physically handicapped. The program also targeted the elderly, bombing victims, and foreign forced laborers. The “euthanasia” program continued until the last days of World War II, expanding to include an ever wider range of victims, including geriatric patients, bombing victims, and foreign forced laborers(“Euthanasia Program”).

The differing degrees on the value of human life is shocking in Silberman’s text.  We have the employees of Heilpadagogik Station(besides Erwin Jekelius) who look at their patients with compassion,  to people who view people with mental illnesses as “useless lives”.  Regarding “The Liberation and Deconstruction of Life Unworthy of Life” by Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding, Silberman writes, “they described disabled people as Lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”), calling them “useless eaters” and “ human ballast” who consume precious resources with repaying their debt to society”(116). The belief in the second viewpoint and eugenics in general, led to the death of millions of people. It is estimated that 250,000 physically and mentally disabled people died during the Holocaust(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “ Euthanasia Program”). In total, it is estimated that 11 million people(“The Holocaust’s Forgotten Victims: The 5 Million Non-Jewish People Killed By The Nazis”) died during this genocide and all I can say is, “where is the humanity?”

Citations

“Euthanasia Program.” Euthanasia Program. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2016. <https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005200&gt;.

“The Holocaust’s Forgotten Victims: The 5 Million Non-Jewish People Killed By The Nazis.” Huffington Post. Ed. Louise Ridley. Huffington Post, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2016.<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/27/holocaust-non-jewish-victims_n_6555604.html&gt;.

 

Fowler, Ashleigh- Analysis 2- Sherlock Holmes isn’t Elementary

I have had the opportunity to meet a few people with autism during my life. The first person I met who had autism was Tom. Tom didn’t have the social skills to do well in school but goodness, he was smart. Tom was my partner for a week in a 7th grade class and I was amazed at how intelligent he was.  Tom knew everything about the naval fleet of the United States. Want to know how many aircraft carriers the United States has, Tom could tell you. Want to know the size of the U.S. naval fleet in the Pacific, Tom could tell you. Tom, just like Sherlock Holmes, fascinated me. We all know that people that are on the spectrum are normally well-versed in something (Tom was well-versed in the Navy) but Sherlock Holmes is well-versed in many things. Sherlock Holmes has a great observation skills, which makes him a great detective. As he says, “Observation with me is second nature” and we see this when he identifies Watson as an Afghanistan Veteran upon meeting him for the first time. But on top of being a great detective, he is a master at chemistry and playing the violin, as well as many other things. The weird thing is, is that it doesn’t seem that Sherlock has been properly trained in anything.  Most people who are proficient and are masters in something, have had years of education or training.  Medical Doctors, for example, have had years of education and years of on the job training. But Sherlock has had none of this. While talking to Dr. Watson about Sherlock, Stamford, the character who introduces Watson to Sherlock states, “No—I have no idea what he intends to go in for. I believe he is well up in anatomy, and he is a first-class chemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out any systematic medical classes. His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot of out-of-the way knowledge which would astonish his professors”.  Sherlock Holmes has never had any formal education regarding his skills, yet he is “first class” in his skills. While doing research, I found out that Sherlock Holmes may be defined an autistic savant. The Autism Research Institute defines autistic savants as, “individuals with autism who have extraordinary skills not exhibited by most persons” (Edelson).  According to the Autism Research Institute and their research on autistic savants, there is many forms of savant abilities, but common abilities include; math calculations, memory feats, artistic, and musical abilities. Sherlock has musical abilities( and if I remember right, I think he was good at math too). Many autistic savants who are gifted musically have perfect pitch and can memorize music quite well. Apparently, some autistic savants have the ability to hear a piece of classical music once and play the whole thing back. Sherlock has a great memory for music.  While studying Sherlock, Watson writes, “… he could play pieces, and difficult pieces, I knew well, because at my request he has played me some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder, and other favourites”.  Sherlock can recite from memory the composer who composed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture”. Can I just say, that’s impressive.  The research that I did says nothing about these abilities being learned, they are innate skills. In fact, there is not a medical explanation on why some autistic people have these remarkable skills. One in ten people who have been diagnosed with autism have these savant abilities, and Sherlock Holmes (if he was diagnosed with autism) seems to be one of them.

Citations

Edelson, Stephen M. “Research: Autistic Savants.” Autism Research Institute. Autism Research Institute, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2016. <https://www.autism.com/understanding_savants&gt;.

Fowler, Analysis 1 – Asylums aren’t prisons, right?

I got shaken up while reading the assigned chapters of “NeuroTribes : The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity” this week.  Right off the bat, I was filled with disgust. Chapter 9, which is entitled, “The Rain Man Effect” starts off by talking about a man named Bill.  At a young age, Bill was seen as a risk to local community and he was shipped off to an asylum. It wasn’t the fact that Bill was sent away from his family that shook me up, it was the fact that the patients of the asylum were referred to as “ inmates” and that if a patient was to be sent home for the weekend, he or she would be “ paroled”. While reading this, I became utterly upset. Bill and his colleagues aren’t criminals. As far as I know, Bill wasn’t an arsonist, he wasn’t a murderer, in short, he’s not a criminal. As lovers of the English language, we all will attest to the fact that word’s matter.  The old proverb of “sticks and stones may break my bones but word’s will never hurt me” is untrue, words do hurt and sometimes people can never heal from words that have been spoken to them. Later on in the chapter, we find out that Bill becomes a very successful man (He  owns and manages a coffee shop on a university campus, he also inspires a movie). In other words, Bill wasn’t unintelligent. When the staff at the asylum called him and the other patients, “inmates”, he knew what the term usually referred to.

Not only did the asylum use criminal/ justice system jargon, it also is described like a prison. Silberman writes, “the high fences on the outskirts of the facility defined the horizons of his universe” ( Silberman, 356). Personally, if you tell me about an institution that has high fences surrounding it, I normally think of a prison or a jail, not a hospital. The patients at the asylum were literally stuck there, 24/7. There may have been grounds to wander but even then looking at the same thing over and over again gets boring after a short while. Just like real inmates, the patients at the asylum were stuck on the ground. These men and women were not criminals and therefore should not have been treated as such.

Fun Fact:   Ironically while doing research, I found out that the asylum and the grounds of the asylum that Bill went to (The Faribault State School for the Feebleminded and Epileptic) is currently used as a state prison (Minnesota Department of Corrections).

To make matters even worse, Bill wasn’t treated like a human either. It is safe to say, that he was treated like a convict.  Silberman writes, “He had never been taught how to tell time or handle money, and had never received proper dental care” ( Silberman, 356).  According to the Minnesota History Center, one of the reasons why Faribault was established was to train patients in order for them to have a normal life (State Hospitals: Historical Patient Records: Faribault State School & Hospital). If the asylum’s mission was to train their patients how to have a normal life then they would have taught their patients how to do the basic skills that most learn in elementary school.

The Faribault State School for the Feebleminded and Epileptic was a hospital not a prison. However, Bill’s experience at the hospital makes it seem more like a correctional facility then a place where people go to get better. It’s scary to know what Bill experienced probably wasn’t an atypical experience. Mental asylums around the country were probably just like Faribault.

Citations

“Minnesota Correctional Facility-Faribault .” Minnesota Department of

Corrections.Minnesota Department of Corrections, n.d. Web. 7

Sept. 2016 http://www.doc.state.mn.us/pages/index.php/facilities/adult-

facilities/faribault/

“Patient Records: Faribault State School & Hospital.” Minnesota History Center.

Minnesota History Center: Gale Family Library, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2016.

http://libguides.mnhs.org/sh/faribault.

Rice County Historical Society, Fairbault. Web. 7 Sept. 2016.

http://faribaulthpc.org/civic-schoollife/secret-stories/