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Throughout history society has subjected left-handed and autistic people to what I call diaphoraphobia, the fear of anything different. Both conditions were associated with evil forces or even devil worship in most cultures, and many individuals were burnt as witches in the Middle Ages.
For centuries left-handed and autistic children have been rigorously reprogrammed to comply with social norms and expectations whereby their enormous intellectual potential to contribute to society was neglected and destroyed in order to break them.
Left-handed children had their left hand tied or even caned if they dared to use it for writing and endured all kinds of punishments and humiliations because of their hand preference. The violent suppression of their natural inclination resulted in anxiety and feelings of incompetence, inferiority and self-loathing and has often caused them to develop disorders such as dyslexia, stuttering and learning disabilities.
Autistic children were and still are forced to suppress any autistic behaviours such as stimming (‘quiet hands’) and to copy non-autistic behaviour such as making eye contact or hugging on command (even if this is unbearable for them) in order to make them appear ‘more normal’. The most common form of ‘therapy’ is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), a humiliating and dehumanising technique that was previously used in the attempted conversion of homosexuals and is now promoted to programme autistic children. The violent suppression of their natural inclination results in anxiety and feelings of incompetence, inferiority and self-loathing and often causes them to develop disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
We can only speculate about how many gifted scientists, artists, inventors, craftsmen etc mankind has lost to the practice of conditioning their disparate children like show dogs.
Only recently the realisation prevailed that there is nothing wrong with being left-handed, which was a big step forward. Obviously many left-handed individuals still need some support - not due to any lack of skills, but simply because of the difficulties to function in a world that was made by and for right-handed people.
Regarding autism, the autistic community still waits for that step forward.