In honor of Autism Awareness Month, what about shutting up, sitting the fuck down and listening to what autistic people have to say about autism?

1. Autism is a fundamental part of who we are and how we experience the world and it cannot be separated from who we are as people. Autism isn’t something that is happening to us, it’s something we are. Do not tell us that autism is something that we have or something that we’re suffering from, that we only have value if we can separate our identities and our personalities from autism. For the vast majority of autistic people, autism is a part of our identity which means that despite common belief most of us prefer to be called “autistic” as opposed to “people with autism.”

2. The vast majority of autistic people do not want a cure, we want acceptance and accommodations. Do not put your time and money into researching how to cure autism and how to prevent it, put time and money into accommodating and accepting autistic people. We do not wish to become neurotypical, we wish to change society so that we can be accommodated, accepted and included as autistic people. Our goal isn’t to become as close to neurotypical as possible, it is to get the opportunity to live happy, fulfilling lives as autistic people. It is society that needs to chance, not us.

3. We do not support Autism Speaks or their campaign #LightItUpBlue and neither should you. If you want to support autistic people, check out ASAN or Autism Women’s Network instead. If you want to know why Autism Speaks isn’t supported by autistic people, this post contains links to a lot of resources on the topic.

4. Functioning labels are inaccurate and harmful and they do not give a nuanced description of what kind of support an autistic person needs. Instead of calling an autistic person “high functioning” or “low-functioning” name the specific issues or strengths you’re referring to. Are they non-verbal? Say that. Are they able to manage a job? Say that. Are they unable to drive? Say that. Do not attempt to force us into two boxes, one of which are used to invalidate or struggles and ignore our deficits and the other one being used to ignore our assets and deny our humanity.

5. Non-verbal autistic people can and do learn to communicate using other communication forms than verbal speech and they’re all individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, wants and opinions. You do not get to speak on behalf of non-verbal autistic people. You do not get to assume that you know exactly what they think, want and feel, especially not when you have never made any effort to communicate with any of them. Instead of assuming that you know what non-verbal autistic people think and feel,

try listening to what they have to say by reading the words of some non-verbal autistic people such as @lysikan or Amy Sequenzia or Emma Zurcher-Long.

6. ABA is harmful and abusive. The goal of ABA isn’t to help autistic people develop coping methods and helpful strategies, it is to train and force them into hiding their autistic traits by all means possible. If you do not see why this is a problem or if you want to learn more about why it is such a big problem, this masterpost by @neurowonderful contains a lot of resources on why ABA is harmful.

7. If you want to learn more about autism, listen to autistic people – not our parents, our siblings, our therapists our or caregivers. Autistic people are the ones who know the most about being autistic, so if you want to learn about autism we’re the ones you should ask. If you want to learn more about the different aspects of autism, @neurowonderful‘s youtube series “Ask An Autistic” is a good place to start. You can also send any questions you might have about autism to @askanautistic where autistic people are ready to answer them for you.

Please reblog this post to spread the word even if you do not plan to share anything else in connection with Autism Awareness Month.


About tooimpurenangel

Big reader
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s