Official website for the This is Autism Flashblog on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. Tell us what "This is Autism" means to you. You can write a paragraph or a blog post, contribute a poem or a video, make a comic or a graphic. Use your imagination. Let's tell the world what autism is in the words and works of autistic people and those who love and support them.
If you’re like me, you’re sick of the anti-Autistic rhetoric. It’s time to put an end to the propaganda, bullying, and fear mongering perpetuated by Autism Speaks.
All over, people are saying that we are tragedies, burdens, lost, and helpless because we are Autistic. They say that we are weights bearing down on our families’ shoulders, that we exhaust our parents, friends, caretakers, and everyone around us because all we do is cause despair.
Yet these people aren’t looking at reality. They are looking at life and at the people they are talking about through a distorted lens. We need to end this distortion.
This is the dose of reality I offer to Autism Speaks:
I am not a black hole, sucking everyone’s time, money, energy, and happiness. I am a person, even though you refuse to see me as such. Because I am Autistic, you think I am some puzzle to be solved. You choose to see me this way because it seems simpler to you, and it seems easier than taking the time and making the effort to understand me. But I am not a puzzle. I am not cut up into confusing pieces like a puzzle and I am not missing anything; I am a whole person–an Autistic person. But that scares you. Why? Just because I am different, that does not mean I am bad. I don’t understand why you can’t accept and honor my differences. That is the real puzzle!
The “emergency” of autism that you think is going on is another puzzle. Why do you feel the need to capitalize on autism by fooling the public through your propaganda and outright deception into thinking that there is a crisis, an epidemic?
Your blatant hypocrisy shows when you refuse to listen to Autistic people. We are speaking, and you cannot speak for us. We may not speak in the same way you do, but we will speak however we can. And, overwhelmingly, we are speaking against you. Do you not hear us? How can you sleep at night, knowing that the very people you claim to want to help speak against you every chance they get?
My life is not a tragedy. Is it really so horrifying that I have a disability? Is it really so scary that my neurotype is different from yours? Is it really so frightening that I have a different set of abilities and difficulties than you do? Yes, autism is a challenge, but it is also a blessing in many ways. You cannot just take me and subtract my autism away and expect there to be a neurotypical person hiding inside. You cannot “cure” me and make me “normal”; this would only do harm, not good.
When you continue to speak over us, label us burdens, call us tragedies, try to “cure” us, you are only doing harm, not good.
So I challenge you to stop speaking over us for a moment, and LISTEN for once!