Why is it when I inform people of the fact my children have autism I am immediately offered unwanted advice, apologies, and pity? The media, that’s why. The scaremongering by organizations like Autism Speaks depicting families with autism as tragic, at a loss, and with a child thats MSSNG. The absent I, symbolising a non identity, a vacancy in humanity, and one of the most offensive things my eyes have bore witness to be promoted to the general public and indeed the world at large. Myself nor my children nor the whole autism community are MSSNG.
We are loudly, gloriously, and predominantly here. We always have been. Diagnostic toolkits are progressing every day, and autism is now diagnosed more frequently. That does not mean the rates have risen, merely that we are now being recognised as being diverse, not labelled eccentric, naughty, willful, odd and any of the other names that have been tossed around to label people that the neurotypical public have given us.
The fear of the unknown and poorly explained is sure to have effects on the none willfully ignorant if they know nothing of autism apart from the bleak disease ridden epidemic type picture that Autism Speaks showcases. Working with autism, encouraging and nurturing our children to be all they can be is imperative to our future generations. Non-invasive therapies, not the ABA that is trotted out and recommended to newly diagnosed families. ABA has long been touted as the automatic next step after diagnosis. Its aim? To make your child indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers.
Why do parents want this?
To stop and conceal the very behaviours our children need to cope, to force eye contact when the feel of it literally can burn? Because “normality” has been pushed to be best. To be different is wrong and to be feared. Up to 40 hours of enforced recommended compliance behaviour to stifle a child’s natural being; their very foundational self?
How is this allowed?
Because to walk down the street with your child stimming, sniffing and making sense of their environment takes courage. It takes a person who believes their child to be an individual and it takes most importantly a person who will support their child being their wonderfully neurodiverse self. Too many parents want this, they want to be proud of their loudly stimming child but are told by well meaning but woefully “Autism Speaks” type informed family and friends that their child MUST in order to be accepted by society, blend in.
We are not leaving.
We cannot be cured as we are not ill nor diseased. Most importantly we are not absent. In a blaze of gold we are here we always have been and we always will be.
Opinions expressed by Autism Daily Newscast Contributors are their own. Comments on individual articles in this series are closed but we encourage readers to add their thoughts on the opening article to this series that can be found here.