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EPO Management Now Exploits Autistic People as “White-washing Communication Exercise for an Organization Which Has Breached Fundamental Rights”

Video download link | md5sum 49ffae346384c0dc5ff427fdd28ccdf0

Summary: We've reached out to ask people who had experience with doctors that label people autistic; here's what we learned and here's what an EPO publication says

THIS post concerns a very sensitive subject, so I've decided to do this in the form of a video (harder to take out of context) and quote somebody from IRC. It's a subject which affects him personally.

"Diagnosing a mental patient is such a, well, almost pseudo-science that the doctors frequently don't agree with each other," said the person. "But it seems to be trendy to sort of "identify" as autistic now. Even if that's not the case. Seems like they don't want to be labeled mentally ill now because that implies disability, and it very well can be one."

To avoid taking this out of context, please see prior articles we wrote about this, including guest posts by people with autism, e.g.: (there's lots more)

"Unfortunately," the person told us, "in today's employment marketplace, there's usually more candidates than openings, and if you can turn yourself into a diversity quota filler instead of a potential problem, that's a nice rebranding. People with autism disorder (which a psychiatrist said he suspected of me at one point), I think, just need to be approached differently. What you get are people who are incredibly good at like one thing or two at the expense of all else. [Richard] Stallman might be a good example of that. He's brilliant on the subject of computers and the software that runs them, but the guy is a slob that presents in a socially unacceptable manner that I can see would be off-putting to many people.

"Humorously, you see this going on with a lot of psychiatrists too. When I was in an inpatient psychiatric facility for a couple of weeks decades ago, mom came in and pointed to a man shuffling around in a cheap, dated, worn-out suit who didn't seem to be all there. She said, "Look at that poor man. I wonder if he'll ever be okay." I said, "That's one of the doctors.". They diagnosed me (that time) with a borderline personality type and implied that being "homosexual" was a mental illness. Like, I remember them specifically asking if I was attracted to men. And I didn't like how the question sounded, so I said "No, eww." because I realized there'd probably be some punishment if I said yes. In my patient file, they noted "Patient agrees that he is a normal heterosexual male.".

He is openly gay, but "homosexual" was seen by the doctors as an abnormality. This is in the United States. "For context, too," he added, "this happened in 2001 even though the DSM delisted homosexuality as a mental illness in the US in 1977, if I recall correctly. Psychiatry isn't just borderline pseudo-science, it's also heavily politicized. Not just in the US. It gets used to discredit people. The whole reason why many people with mental illness are resentful of the whole practice is because it gets used as a weapon against them. No other field of medicine, except maybe the Coronavirus vaccine, operates this way. When they're taking you in there and holding you down and saying the state commands you to take something you don't want? Bitter spouses who are suing for child custody? "He's mentally ill. I have all his files." Having a bad day? Your psychiatrist might have to report it to the government and then you lose your Second Amendment rights. Antipsychotic drugs are also getting a relabeling as "mood stabilizers". Honestly, people like me need them. It's hardly perfect, but it's what we have. So you guys get to spend a little time in our world. But I see them whacking up kids on major antipsychotics because they had mild seasonal depression or something. It's like "going after a fly with a nuclear warhead" type stuff. It's sick. They did this with Ritalin when I was a child. To me, even. Ritalin is like, the opposite of an antipsychotic. So when it caused me to behave even more strangely, they punished me more. It goes back and forth every time you see a doctor throughout your life, almost, unless you tell them what the last one said. Starting from scratch, you'll be diagnosed with a new thing about every 10 years. They've hit me with ADHD, borderline personality type, major depression, social anxiety disorder, bipolar II, and bipolar I. In that order. And the drugs for each one of those can seriously mess you up if they diagnose you incorrectly."

"They prescribed all kinds of shit," he told, "including off-label Neurontin (Gabapentin) which there was later a major lawsuit over that the drug company was openly bribing corrupt psychiatrists to do. Big lawsuit, big settlement. I tried all sorts of ways to protest my stay there, including not eating, not taking my meds. Finally I pretended to take them and spit them out when I got back into my room, and they agreed that I was "compliant" and let me go. The court ordered me to continue taking the Neurontin, so I filled it and dumped it in the trash."

Here is what the new publication (from the video above) says:

Patent examiner

06.12.2021 su21013mp – 0.2.1/4.4

Patent Examination: A job for autistic people?

Building a more diverse and inclusive workplace has become a higher priority among large companies willing to reshape their workforce. For the EPO, D&I has also become a convenient white-washing communication exercise for an organization which has breached fundamental rights. Last week, in a newsletter1 sent to DG1 staff, management tackled the topic of neurodiversity and autism. This paper provides some comments.

DG1 D&I newsletter In a mass-email sent to the DG1 sectors ICT and M&M, the Chief Operating Officer invited staff to take knowledge of the DG1 D&I Newsletter Issue of November 2021. This latest issue tackles the topic of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity refers to variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions in a non-pathological sense. The word neurodiversity is attributed to Judy Singer, a social scientist who has described herself as "likely somewhere on the autistic spectrum”2.

On page 3 of the newsletter, the reader can find this:

EPO autism

This passage suggests that the integration of autistic people into the workforce is perceived as essentially beneficial for productivity purposes without taking into account whether it is beneficial for the person itself and how the person feels about it in the long-term.

Which requirements for autistic people? An estimated 60–80% of autistic people have motor signs that include poor muscle tone and poor motor planning3. It is questionable whether an autistic person benefits from a purely static computer work often causing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

Autistic people can be characterised as having persistent deficits in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts4. It is questionable whether an autistic individual benefits from HR policies which aim at putting staff out of their comfort zone, constant changes in procedures and daily IT outage.

________ 1 DG1 D&I Newsletter Issue November 2021 2 Neurodiversity: 3 Autism – Other symptoms: 4 Autism - Diagnosis:

Autistic people have social impairments which make it difficult for them to have a relationship and build a family5. It is questionable whether an autistic person benefits from a lonely work which strongly reduces social contacts especially at a time when mandatory teleworking is the rule. Back in 2016, the press was already comparing teleworking with a hamster wheel6.

Conclusion Consulting companies6 advise that the first step to build an inclusive workplace is to “Educate your leaders”. A DG1 newsletter fully taking into consideration the long-term requirements of autistic people would be a first step in the right direction.

SUEPO Munich

________ 5 Autism – Social development: 6 “Daheim im Hamsterrad” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), (01-09-2016) 7 “6 Steps for Building an Inclusive Workplace”, from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (19-03-2018)

Regarding the part which says "[a]n estimated 60–80% of autistic people have motor signs that include poor muscle tone and poor motor planning," we've been told: "I agree with the last part, but not the part about poor muscle tone. Most autistic people are not violent or threatening, but there's a sense of contemptuous disgust towards them, and so I'd say that if RMS [Richard Stallman] is autistic, then [Matthew Garret] is openly attacking a mentally disturbed person who can't really help his behaviors. That is deplorable. RMS says some of the things he does because it just comes out unfiltered without any sense of concern about what a "reasonable" person reading it would think.

"HR policy of taking disciplinary action against people who troll employees with mental health issues would be helpful in combating that. Usually, the employers just don't care that it happens because if there's a hostile work environment, the victim is more likely to leave than sue, and if they sue, then they have a mountain to climb even if there are laws. Microsoft has a hostile work environment, has for decades, and imports more problems (Like the ones at Bungie and Bethesda and GitHub.). Abuse as motivation for the victim to work harder seems to be a goal sometimes too."

We don't know if the EPO actually bothered consulting people who are themselves affected. Instead, in the words of the union, "D&I has also become a convenient white-washing communication exercise for an organization which has breached fundamental rights." Months ago they leveraged pinkwashing several times. Just shortly after the ILO-AT's ruling on the "Strike Regulations", which will be the subject of the next 3 posts.

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