Why You Should Listen to What Autistic Adults Have to Say

As I have said in response to a previous post, my viewpoint was dismissed at the Autism Society of the Bluegrass meeting I went to when I revealed I was autistic. This greatly dismayed me, even though I had a viewpoint that might have been useful to the people there. They were only interested in pushing their own agenda past what someone their agenda might actually affect. My dismay is this: Would they dismiss the viewpoints of their own children, had they the words and understanding I did, the very people who their actions would affect? Why do they not listen to us?

There are reasons you need to listen to adults on the spectrum, if you want to truly understand living with autism. For one, we actually have life experience dealing with autism. We can tell you about sensory issues, echolalia, the words not forming when you need them to, etc. We can tell you that. Or do you not want to hear what might actually be going on with your children? Autism is more than a concept or plague when you talk to us. It is that thing which gives us a little curve in dealing with people and our surroundings. Autism is a way of life for us. Even if you just want to cure and stop autism, you cannot cure it right now. You have to deal with it. Why not give those of us who are actually dealing with autism a chance to tell you what it is actually like?

It reminds me of a scene in “The Sword in the Stone,” an innocent Disney movie which gives us a scene about flying:

It’s just like that. Would you rather learn about autism from people who may know an inkling about what is going on, or somebody who actually knows what is going on? It’s also like getting a tour or a city you’ve never been before. Would you rather get a tour from a book, or from a local? A local makes more sense to me.

Besides, there is a big reason you need to listen and acknowledge what adults on the autism spectrum say. You are setting your own children up for discrimination and failure. Not acknowledging what autistic adults have to say now will set a precedent for not acknowledging what your own children, as autistic adults themselves, have to say in the future. They will be discriminated against, and as you know, when people are dismissed when it’s important, they get desperate. Their communication gets more obvious, and then it gets violent. Who knows what autistic adults will do in the future if their viewpoints are dismissed and minimized in the present? We can prevent future violence by present acknowledgment. Can you not see the consequences in the future? I can see them now. We can stop them. Listen to us autistic adults. We are trying to communicate.

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