Why don’t most “Autism Parents” care to listen to autistic adults? Don’t they know that we are their child’s future?
Don’t worry – I’ve been working on a few things.
- Sarah Jessica Parker admitted “Sex and the City” would be more diverse if made today – I have a few ideas surrounding the casting. Let the arguments begin!
- After much “Big Bang Theory” viewing, I have concluded that Sheldon Cooper might just very well be autistic – but as long as the showrunners don’t name autism, they can get away with cruelly mocking autism (am I right, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady?).
- Sometimes, your desire to stay well informed will clash with your need to stay sane.
NOTE: This is in response to a recent blog post written by a parent of an autistic child.
“What will happen to my autistic kid when I’m gone?” “What will happen to my autistic kid when I die?” Well, if you hog all the autism care and concern and leave none of it for them, they will probably die alone, possibly killing themselves.
Have I got your attention now?
An isolated, dependent, and short lifespan is the current fate of most autistic people. Do you want to stop that? Don’t hog all the care and concern. Remember, the autistic person is suffering the most. NOT YOU!!!!!
Also, I have a few questions I want to ask:
Here’s my question: Can they learn to adapt and live?
Some autistic people need round-the-clock care, but I believe many do not. You must learn where on this care spectrum this person falls, and make the proper arrangements. You might be surprised where this person falls, and where he functions highly. Also, get him some autistic friends. I don’t have any close autistic friends right now, except on Facebook, and there are times I feel all alone.
Here’s my next question: Can they be autistic around you?
There is a LOT of pressure to fit in, to be acceptable, to conform. Autistic people, because they are bullied, left out and ostracized, feel this pressure more than most people. Holly Robinson-Peete’s son once declared “I don’t want autism” to his family at one time in the course of conversation. This just broke my heart. I could not put a finger on it at the time, but I realized it meant that he feels he cannot be loved and/or accepted until he can conform to neurotypicality. I could not watch another episode of their reality show.
Another question: Is there somebody they can be autistic, and therefore themselves, around?
If not you, the autistic person NEEDS to be autistic. It’s a fact of life as of May 29, 2018. If they are not themselves around you, they need to be themselves around somebody. They need somebody they can trust. Not you, them. You might be surprised who they trust, and it may not be the people you trust. Remember: many times, they have learned to not trust themselves or their instincts. I have gone through this behavior, and have re-learned to trust my instincts in my thirties. By then, it was almost too late.
I am currently forty years old. By some estimates, the average death age of an autistic person is thirty-six. (By some, it could be as late as fifty-four.) This means I may have already outlived my lifespan by four years. Not much time on this world where we face rejection, is it? Most autistic people still may be doomed to die alone, but you can help change it. There is a group of people who can help your child, because they know what your child is going through. They are going through it themselves. These are what we call autistic adults.
- The whole treatment of Meg Griffin.
- Having to borrow a title from a show that treats their teen daughter like feces.
- The fact that I have to hide the fact that my very nice upstairs neighbor is black because some very powerful white people assume she is some kind of criminal.
- The fact that I am forty and only qualified to work in a fast food joint because I only have an Associate Degree.
- People who go swimming in pubic pools when they don’t feel well. Stay home and get well!
- The fact that I have to justify my autism diagnosis because I am not Sheldon Cooper, Raymond “Rain Man” Babbitt, or some other white male whose weird is life-throttling.
- The fact that I have yet to see an autistic girl who likes assumed girly things on T.V.
- That most of the autistic people in media are white, male and otherwise of a privileged class.
- That these stereotypes throttle non-white, non-male autistic people from being believed.
- That I am even having to mention these in the 21st Century.
So, autistic parent who thinks that just because I don’t act EXACTLY like your child, I’m not autistic enough? You don’t know me! Person who thinks I am a dismiss-worthy weirdo? You don’t know me!
You don’t know how intense, loud and colorful I experience the world. You don’t even know how your own child experiences the world. It could be more intense, or maybe it could be less intense. Or, and this is more likely, it may be a combination of both – more intense in some areas, or less intense in other areas.
You don’t know how much I struggle to come up with the right word. You don’t know how I witness almost every conversation (or interview, in some cases) can go down in flames because I say the wrong word. You don’t know. You don’t know the nights I spent awake agonizing and finally coming up with the right words to say, long after the opportunity to say them is gone.
You don’t know how I have no emotional memory. You don’t know the hours I spend in private because I am crying over my own pain, or the pain of someone else. You don’t know that I am currently wishing people would just evacuate the Big Island of Hawaii because it seems to be exploding to me.
Are you psychic? Can you read my mind? Of course not. Maybe if you could, you would be more understanding and accepting of my differences.
So, I’ve noticed that you guys have read a lot of Benedict Cumberbatch on the release of Avengers: Infinity War. And, I must admit, it’s a rare negative light on the star. I’m afraid for him now, for a few reasons.
I’m afraid people think I don’t like him. Nothing could be further from the truth. He’s one of my favorite actors. The reason what he said several years ago hurt so much is because he is one of my favorite actors. I’ve learned, the hard way, not to let a stranger too close to the bone in that instance. In going back and reviewing what I wrote about him, it’s hard to imagine positives without being reminded of them.
I’m afraid people will forget the work he does for charity. He often auctions personal possessions for various charities. For Infinity War, for example, he auctioned off a meeting for tea for an African organization. He often auctions off personal works for organzations as well. I’d just like him to look for something that brings light to Autism Acceptance.
So, what do I want from Benedict Cumberbatch? I want him to turn a little of that charity work towards an organization that practices Autism Acceptance. I want him to see autistic people as people. Many other people refuse to see the autistic as a human being. Maybe I just want him to recognize that ableism can be drilled into you by the media and society so hard, it becomes a part of you. It happened to me, it can happen to him. I guess what I really want is for him to listen, learn, and accept. Is that too much?
So, another Autism Awareness Month has come and gone. Is everyone OK? I hope so. Although most of the autism Awareness emphasis was toward the beginning, people might want to reminisce toward the types of progress the autistic community has made. I’ve made lists of the Pros and Cons toward this progress. For the first time, there have been definite Pros.
1. There has been a definite shift toward what autistic people want and need.
2. Autistic voices are finally gaining some sort of traction toward being heard.
3. There has been a rise in finding and diagnosing autism, particularly in communities of color.
4. More female portrayals of autism are coming around in the media.
5. At least in my local grocery store, there has been a shift toward acceptance and social inclusion.
1. Autism Speaks still wants to “DESTROY AUTISM!!!” as if autism is some sort of social cancer. (It’s not; prejudice is, though.)
2. The portrayals of autism in the media are still generally white and male. This stereotype still rules and harms autistic people everywhere, even denying them diagnosis in females. I have yet to see an autistic woman who is like me on TV.
3. Sheldon Cooper, who does not have an official diagnosis, is the gatekeeper of autism in many neurotypical minds.
4. There has been only one major portrayal of autistic persons of color: Billy the Blue Power Ranger in the Power Rangers Movie of 2017.
5. Most people still think autistic adults are not autistic enough to speak for autistic children.
6. The Autism Community is still fragmented, with parents of the autistic on one side and autistic people on the other.
7. ANDREW WAKEFIELD, JENNY MCCARTHY AND THE VACCINE BLAMERS!
8. The Most Important: People still think autism is a tragedy. Some people even have to wait until adulthood to get diagnosed because their parents do not want their children to be autistic. (Nobody gets a choice in the matter!)
While the Cons List is almost twice as long, the fact that there are actually Pros is a plus. I previously referenced April as The Trauma Month, if you remember reading that back in March. If we get over our differences, band together and fight the prejudice against us, someday the Pros list will be longer. That, my friends, I am looking forward to.