“We are a society that treats people with disabilities with condescension and pity, not dignity and respect.”
Sure, my mother tells me I am very high functioning. Trouble is, such a statement used to make me wonder if what the neurotypical call high functioning was a part of why my mother loved me, that I had to be high functioning to be loved. It turns out, this is not true. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case for many autistic people, particularly those who are called low-functioning. True, I cannot speak for the low-functioning autistic, the one who cannot pass for neurotypical. However, it does not mean they are less in need of or deserving of love. That would mean I am less deserving of love than a neurotypical person.
Why do I stick up for the ones designated low functioning? Under the umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder, I am technically a sister to them, in a way. Plus, I have been taught the ropes in functioning by my mother and others. I never felt like I really fit in with the neurotypical crowd. I have always known I was different, and that those differences were feared and hated. I mean, most people use the word weird as a kind of slur. People have always been afraid of the “other,” of the outsider. I guess it has its purpose. But it is like a shoe that has holes in it, or pebbles: they have served their purpose, or are now harming you.
Remember, you are one medical diagnosis, one accident, one lost paycheck from becoming the people you condescend and pity. I am there.