Ableism in Motion

I need to tell you a true story as to why I am not working in psychology, advocating for those of us autistics, as I should be:

When I was in college, my first year, I was introduced to psychology. I mean, spending your time with psychologists and psychiatrists most of your childhood? It seemed to be a natural fit. I was doing well for a while, learning and getting along, when I got the notion to share my autism with my professor. Having a psychology background, she might want to study me in the future, maybe build a friendship, perhaps? I mean, it might be an opportunity for her to make friends with a real, live autistic-you know, someone a little different. (At the time, I still thought I was a rare case, being a “high-functioning” girl, and being diagnosed at age three.) That was how I was raised, to interact with different people, and find something possibly fascinating about them.

So, I told my professor I had autism. You want to know what she did? She went “Awwwww!” as if I were something to pity and lament over. This was a terrible shock to me, because there had been no pity or woe in my world before! I mean, when I brought up that I was autistic before as an excuse, it was dismissed. It never meant I was less of a person to be pitied over, either. I did not know it then, but people putting me in a WOEFUL PITY PARTY was the basic way I would be viewed by the unknowing, and especially by those oh-so-open-minded (SARCASM!) people of Autism Speaks. Unfortunately, I still do not see myself as a person to pity and cry over. Autism is just fine to me. No worries here. Maybe some sensory issues, but I have regained my confidence, thanks to my fellow autistics and my mother, and I can deal with the world just fine.

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