ArtfullyAutistic
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ArtfullyAutistic

When the social service work field teaches everything in an NT perspective… That’s where red flags come in

Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

TW & CW // NT bullsh*t, contradictions in the field, double standards, etc…

Hello everyone!!!!! This time I am back at it again with something good, and this time… it’s about knowing when the social service work field teaches everything in a neurotypical perspective.

Without further ado… let’s get started!

Introduction

Before I get started, I just wanted to let you know that this is something from my personal experiences and something that can come up for any ND/Autistic social service work student, and that this should be kept in mind when discussing how dominant the neurotypical perspective becomes in fields such as psychology and social service work.

Have you ever wondered why there is a lack of ND & Autistic voices when it comes to teaching social service work? If so, then this article is the one for you!

Teaching social service work in an NT perspective

Whenever something is taught about mental health and trauma-informed care, it is taught in a white and NT perspective instead of an intersectional perspective, because a) the majority of the social service work field is still white, abled, and neurotypical, and b) Black, Indigenous, Newcomers of Colour, Disabled, ND and Autistic voices are still continuing to be left out of conversations surrounding mental health and trauma-informed care everytime. It isn’t only infuriating, but also ironic and contradictory of the institutionalised social service work system since it preaches about including voices in mental health and trauma-informed care, but it does the opposite.

When social work is taught in an NT and white perspective in a long time, that is where red flags begin to come in, and that’s where the realisation of how f*cked up the institutionalised social work field is begins to hit you like a truck.

There are times where I am thankful to even learn the social work profession, but there are times where the institutional field has to be called out for continuing to exclude Neurodivergent(diverse), Deaf/HOH (Hard of Hearing), Disabled and Autistic voices, and continuing to contradict its own values that it preaches while not practising them itself… I wonder what happened to the ideal social work field that I used to see with such rose-tinted glasses? I also wonder why this field isn’t being the once beloved saint over every profession anymore ? (just kidding, it’s me being sarcastic as hell and I have a small to basic/general understanding that most professions outside the social service work profession aren’t also as saintly as they look)

Sometimes, there are times where I’m thankful to have a subjective capability of taking what is taught about mental health and self-care with a grain of salt…

Seldom inclusion of Hard of Hearing voices, Plural voices, etc. when speaking about self-care and mental health

As an Autistic person who is of hearing and is mainly verbal (while learning ASL [or American Sign Language] for fun as of this week), I’ve started to keep in mind about the lack of consideration that is directed towards Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Semi-Verbal & Non-Verbal, and Mute social service work students when it comes to teaching social work in university and/or college. Another thing that I also want to add on is that the neurotypical perspective of the social service work field doesn’t talk about Deaf and Hard of Hearing (etc.) perspectives surrounding mental health and self-care in social work, because the majority of both mental health and self-care are tailored to hearing, verbal, and neurotypical people instead of to Mute, Semi-/Non-Verbal, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Autistic people, hence the majority of mental health and self-care beliefs/philosophy continuing to throw them under the bus.

Another thing that saddens, but internally frustrates me is the lack of ASL classes being mandatory because the social service work mentions (only the surface) about Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Semi- & Non-Verbal, and Mute people and their existence, but do not make ASL classes mandatory because it’s typically assumed that most newcomers and marginalised individuals are verbal and of hearing, which is obviously not true.

a) it is generalising to assume that newcomers and marginalised individuals are assumed to be abled, of hearing, verbal and/or NT, and I’m internally angry towards systems for not being inclusive of ND/Autistic, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Non-/Semi-Verbal and Mute folks of all intersectionalities since society’s f*cked up systems aren’t even considerate about them and their needs.

b) it’s also unnerving that there’s a lack of interpreters in news and especially during public announcements (and whenever something is taught in college/university), especially when there are many forms of incredible sign languages, such as South African Sign Language, New Zealand Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language (let me know and correct me if I am wrong), and more.

c) For Hard of Sight/Blind folks, there is a lack of Braille inclusion for academic and/or social justice-based material that is typically written in spoken languages, not in Braille… which, again, should be taken into consideration, but society isn’t ready for this conversation yet.

A/N: if you start learning ASL from YouTube, online and especially on apps where you learn signs, then you’re on your way, but if you also want to take an online class (or if there is an ASL course at your school, college/university), then keep in mind that there are some that you have to pay for (i.e., StartASL), and there are some that are free to use, including resources such as Bill Vicar’s 100 Signs, his ASL learning website and especially his YouTube channel is a good place to start, including Handspeak (like an online dictionary, but keeps growing), and Memrise (a language learning app that only has the basics of ASL), including many other ASL learning websites and/or apps made primarily by Deaf and HOH (Hard of Hearing) people for everyone, which is really good if you need to use ASL signs to simplify a sentence from verbal English, but then again, doing so is difficult for a beginner.

This can lead to further marginalisation and “othering” of Deaf (etc.) and Hard of Hearing folks, including a lack of importance when it comes to bringing up the topic of mandatory ASL classes (along with the amount of patience and time it takes to be an ASL interpreter) both in-person (before COVID-19) and especially online (i.e., Discord, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc).

This marginalisation and “othering” is another red flag to keep in mind as one becomes more critical of what is being taught while learning the social service work profession.

Preaching one thing, but practicing the opposite when it comes to too much institutional bullsh*t

This is one of the things that gives off the biggest red flag while learning everything that’s needed to be taught in the social service work program… Preaching the importance of accepting your own humanity, of helping others in need, of taking good care of yourself, have good communication skills, and especially to learn from what others are sharing with you. However, the social service work program actually does the opposite since it gives a sh*tload of work, pins the blame on students who generally have a difficult time with balancing their work and life (including when they’re dealing with a load of sh*t in their life), disregarding self-care while only scratching the surface of self-care’s importance, and many more things wrong with the program.

A/N: Just to clarify, I am not complaining about being thankful to learn something since I am fortunate to have the privilege of being able to afford college education for social service work, but I am venting about the amount of sh*t social service work students are given and then expected to be able to have themselves together (which it’s okay to not have everything together all the time) like robots and/or machines that want to be able to please society that expects others to be eiher perfect or they are officially a “demon”, but hey, to each their own.

Conclusion

If there are any other bad experiences that social service work students can share with me, then you can share it in the comments, and you can always share with me, because a) this should be technically a safe space (even though it unfortunately isn’t based on what’s seen in the comments section of everything) and no one should tolerate any bullsh*t from others and b) it’s nice to see refreshing perspectives from others and especially different worldviews (unless if a worldview is harmful to others, then that will be between you and yourself to sort out).

Thank y’all very much for reading this and thanks for staying with me until the end!!!

If y’all have any other red flags that you’ve noticed in any program (not just in the social service work programs for college and/or university), then you can definitely add them in the comments below.

With Love,

A ravenet gremlin ❤.

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[They/He/Xe]|Autistic| This is a safe space for you to read in the comfort of your home! You can find my ko-fi at: https://ko-fi.com/ravenfridmar43791