Friday, 3 August 2012

The ATOS Mental health section:

And how it completely fails mentally ill and autistic people.

The question I've noticed in particular:

"17. Appropriateness of behaviour with other people, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.

Descriptor Points

(a) Has, on a daily basis, uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. = 15

(b) Frequently has uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited
behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. = 15

(c) Occasionally has uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited
behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. = 9

(d) None of the above apply. 0"


This only addresses how the claimant acts, this does not allow for any consideration of the fact that anyone who is mentally ill, autistic or even both may face rampant bigotry and judgment from others, and are often treated as behaving badly and/or aggressively regardless of how they are actually acting.

I am frequently accused of being "aggressive", the reasons for this are as varied as:

1. My tone is too flat.
2. I disagreed with someone.
3. I called someone out on some shitty behaviour of theirs and they decided to attack me.
4. I remained assertive in the face of the aggression of another party.
5. I needed something from someone and they felt inconvenienced by that need.
6. I was a nearby and convenient target for someone's rage. 
7. Someone found my disability/obvious signs of disability uncomfortable or intimidating.
8. I stood up for my rights.
9. A bully is trying to pretend they aren't a bully.
10. I gave someone a "funny look".

People have proclaimed that my mere presence made them feel "unsafe" when I have done nothing to them, except for be disabled around them or dare to stand up for my rights. Apparently stating that I am a person and I deserve the same level of consideration as anyone else is a "threat".

Quite apart from aggression and how many false accusations we get, this question also doesn't address other forms of "inappropriate" behaviour. Often Autistics, and the mentally ill (and indeed any disabled person) suffer major social sanctions because someone considered our behaviour to be inappropriate (again the list contains stuff such as standing up for your rights is inappropriate) or because we do something non-aggressive which was socially inappropriate because we don't know better.

This is a real and distressing problem, it's psychologically harmful to be constantly bombarded with messages that basically say "who you are is a bad thing and you are bad". We're often subject to bullying, belittling and other emotional abuse because of our disabilities.

At it's most extreme, it can even lead to attacks on us. I have received threats ranging from someone saying he wanted to take an axe to my hands, to people threatening to tip me out of my wheelchair and beat me to a bloody pulp because I said something they disagreed with. Some people have even encouraged me to kill myself. I have been attacked physically a number of times as well.

It would not be safe to put me in a working environment with such people, I would be in danger. Back when I worked, some of the reasons for leaving jobs included violent attacks on me, including one that involved a weapon. Nobody took me seriously even after these attacks because I'm "mentally ill" and "autistic".

That question assumes the only "inappropriate behaviour problem" someone can have is their fault, and that society doesn't constantly fail to behave appropriately towards people like me. It assumes that the only barrier to working in terms of behaviour is mine and not that of others.

I don't behave aggressively, I have to fear aggression from others though and that should be taken into account.

No comments:

Post a Comment