You’ve seen the blue monuments, the store displays, the big rallies. It’s all about the suffering parents! Those poor paaaaarents, dealing with a demon autistic child! But nobody seems to see how it’s affecting the children, or worse, what happens when those children grow up as broken adults that need repair. Sure, most autism parents tend to make the autism suffering all about them. They tend not to look past the end of their noses. But let’s see how we can deal with them now.
- On Autism “Awareness” Rallies: Don’t go. There is no need to go to a rally where your fear being booed and worse.
- On Wearing Blue: I’d avoid it, at least for April 2. People might think you support the hateful actions of Autism Speaks. Most autistic people tend to go towards red, gold or taupe for Autism Acceptance. (Personally, I go red, simply because I have it.)
- On Blue-Lit Monuments: Take those as reminders that we need to fight for Autism Acceptance.
- On Store Displays: Take these with a grain of salt. Your experience is an expert one.
- On Those Poor Paaaaarents, Part 1: Ask them this question: “Are you the one who is autistic? Or is it your child?” “Do you think a child has meltdowns on purpose?” “Do you think a person suffers on purpose?”
- On Those Poor Paaaaarents, Part 2: Remember, they are made by despair-loving doctors who talk about what the child CAN’T do, as if the doctors know. If they are open to it, teach them the truth.
- On Autism Speaks Dominance: Take it as a reminder that we still need to fight. Remember, they are anti-autistic scaremongers, no matter what they say.
- On Not “Looking Autistic” or “Seeming Autistic”: Well, bring up the point that AUTISTIC ADULTS DO NOT ACT LIKE AUTISTIC CHILDREN. (Ahem, excuse my yelling.) It’s true. When you talk about delays, bring up the point that Later Does Not Mean Never.
- On the basic stereotype that “They’ll Never Amount to Anything!!!!!” – Google Famous Autistic People. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Remember, autistic people can do anything.
- On Inequality in Autism Access and Treatment: This is intersectionality in a nutshell. The theory is, suffering is compounded the more you deviate from the white male cisgender neurotypical “norm.”
This list of specific issues is by no means an exhaustive one. Please, comment on ones I need to address. I really want to help.
EDIT: Point included in comment about autistic age on 3/25/18.
Now, I’m getting the ramp up into World Autism Month just as much as any autistic person. We’re definitely feared and hated just as much as any other rich, neurotypical cisgender white male*. (*Other conditions apply to be mainstream, too.) I’m not going to discuss how we are ostracized and misrepresented. Any visit to Autism Speaks will give you a good idea of that. All I have to say is that being cured to most of us sounds like Invasion of the Body Snatchers – killing us and taking over our bodies. We scare you, huh? We’re here, we’re autistic, get over it.
Anyway, what we really need at this point and can get is self-care and mutual care among autistic people. Most of us are broken, traumatized adults. We are cynical, we are twisted, we are bitter. We need to be nurtured back from the brink.
I have decided that together, we can give more effective self-care advice than any one of us alone. That is why I have decided that we can search for it on sites which cater to our needs, such as Tumblr. Anyway, sometimes we can do better together.
Just a note here: World Autism Month is an invention of Autism Speaks. April 2nd as World Autism Day is the only UN-sanctioned World Autism Day. Check with your countries on how long “Autism Awareness” has sanctioned in your own country.
TRIGGER/CONTENT WARNING: Discussion/Use of functioning labels,
Well, if it isn’t another method of discrimination I’ve just learned about. The Shiny Aspie has come to minimize the perception of autistic suffering.
Well, let’s see…what is a “Shiny Aspie” in the first place? Well, the Shiny Aspie is a supposedly high-functioning autistic person who throws shade at a person who strives to pass for neurotypical as much as possible, while passing judgement on “lower-functioning” autistic people. Basically, a Shiny Aspie feels they are fine, while wanting a cure for “lower-functioning” autistic people. A Shiny Aspie tries to separate themselves from their tribe to be better than their tribe.
I used to be a Shiny Aspie, mostly because I was encouraged to appear neurotypical by every society I was ever in. Family, school, church youth group, theatre students…all either tried to Make Cambria Neurotypical Again, or ostracized and made fun of me for being different. The message was clear: “Be neurotypical or be kicked out!” “Be neurotypical or be mocked!” “Be neurotypical or die!” (Hey, the last one was the title of a previous post!) I had to, for survival, become a version of a Shiny Aspie, to strive for neurotypicality, and put down others like me. In other words, for lack of a better scenario, I was like a Jew being a Nazi, or a person of color in a Ku Klux Klan hood – a hypocrite.
But here’s the problem – I was once a “lower-functioning” autistic person. The doctor told my mother to prepare for me to never get any “better” than I was at age three. I was obviously behind other kids at that point. (Tells you how much doctors know about bringing the hope!) I had to change one stim for another at several points in my life. I spoke stiffly until my thirties. The persecution I suffered throughout my school years was nearly nonstop. I only felt that I fit in during Grad Night, the last night I would ever see any of these people. I still don’t know why most of them are my Facebook friends. I’m still shocked they contacted me.
Anyway, to think that I am “better” than any other autistic bothers me. We are being segmented and pitted against each other in petty squabbles in order to keep us down and out. The Shiny Aspie has drunk the poisonous Kool-Aid, not knowing they are being plotted against as well. I hope they wake up from their sleep soon.
Now, I decided to type my answers to the above questions in, because my printer does not work. It hasn’t for months.
I would like to hear of some tips from you guys about caring for oneself during World Autism Month/Day besides the ones I have posted here. Like what to do when confronted by a blue-lit major landmark, for example. Or maybe so-called “Autism Warrior Parents?” What about those displays in grocery stores or places of gathering?
The only thing I can remember is:
Remember, most “autism parents” will have to learn Autism Acceptance the hard way.
Well, I’ve been going through my autistic Facebook groups, and I came across a Neurodiversity test.
Here is the link:
Here is my result:
It was introduced as: “You are likely neurodiverse.” (Tell me something I don’t know.) Much of the group activities consist of comparing notes as to our experiences. We can generally figure out autism for ourselves this way. Being diagnosed younger than most of my female autistics, I am all too happy to help. These notes are very helpful for many of us.
The note comparing can be helpful for relating to those not of our ilk, as well. Trouble is, much of our information is largely ignored by neurotypicals, especially neurotypicals who are trying to make us into neurotypicals. Trouble with those people is, all they’ll get is fakery and autistic bitterness. We need this information to get out into the parents of autistic children. The trouble is this: can they accept that autistics themselves can tell you of an experience from the inside? Or does that previous question blow their minds?
I have a problem. There is a dearth of people with autism who like to wear makeup. Sure, some of us autistic people may dislike the look and feel of makeup on their faces, but not me. I love the way my makeup makes me look and feel. Also, once fashion, or more appropriately, style, was demystified for me, I figured out how to use it, too. I like makeup, I like fashion, and I have autism. So why am I nonexistent in the media?
I have a feeling that I am not supposed to be womanly and autistic at the same time. I feel like I am wrong and rebellious when I am in makeup and stylish clothes. That to be autistic, I have to abandon my genuine likes and my being myself in order for people to believe me. I feel weird and like an outsider for being both autistic and girly, or womanly. I also feel this is wrong. So, tell me, media, where are the girly autistics?
There is a disconnect between what most people think Autism Acceptance is and what it really is. Most people think Autism Acceptance is letting the person flounder around aimlessly in life and let them waste their time on earth. That is simply not true. You work around autism, not destroy it, not let it rule you. If you could imagine, for a moment, a person that lacks the ability to walk. Do you let them drag themselves around on the street? No! You get them a wheelchair or other walking aid. Accepting autistic people as they are does not mean leaving them to flounder in their pain. It means you teach them how to function in the world obviously not made for them.
I’m not entirely against training the autistic child on how to function in this world. What I am against is the lack of explanation that this is how to function in the world. Explaining that this is how to function kind of sounds like this:
“Cami, this is how most people function in the world. By talking and using words.”
“Cami, I need you to use your words.”
“Cami, that is inappropriate. Please talk about something else.”
(*Cami was my childhood nick name. I might as well put my name in.)
The point is, if the child does not know what you are doing, how are they going to get on board?
I’m also not entirely against the concept of accommodations and adjustments for the autistic, either. Another fallacy in the way society treats the autistic is that they treat it the way they treat mental illness, or any other invisible illness. Would you tell a person with a broken arm or leg that they need to “do better,” or “get out of your funk”? Would you tell someone with the flu they need to try harder to get well? Of course not. Just because a stim makes you uncomfortable does not mean it needs to stop. Does the autistic yell at you to stop talking, for example? No. They know it comforts you to hear your own voice. Why not give that same compassion to them?