When I Stick Up For a Person Who Is Autistic

I see a lot in the world of blogging. Those who blog about autism is just a small corner of the world wide web and even there, I see a lot.

I see the autistic adult self advocates. The ones we should all be listening to. The ones who get it and knew what it was like to be autistic as a child. I find their knowledge and insight to be most helpful for me with my son- who will one day be an autistic adult. Their message is the one I want to respect and help spread for others to learn and understand.

I see the woe is me mommy bloggers. The ones who speak of nothing but the hard aspects of autism- which to an extent is okay if they’re doing it respectively. A lot of them don’t do it respectively. They infantilize their child, share intimate private details of their child’s continence, or speak of them in a less than human way.

I see the positive moms. Some of these moms have children who are at a Level 1 of the DSM5 Module and some of them have children who are at a Level 2 or 3. These positive moms speak of the hardships and the triumphs and do it all with grace, respect, and regard to their child’s dignity. They set the example of a much needed paradigm shift in how autism should be viewed and talked about.

You can clearly see there is a division in the autism blogging community, but it’s a division that is much needed.

I’m one of the positive moms. My son is seven years old and he was diagnosed as “moderately” autistic two months shy before his third birthday. There wasn’t a DSM5 module at the time, but if there were, I probably would have been told he was at a Level 2 with traits from Level 3. Today,  I would be told he is at a Level 1. The term “moderate” that he was labeled as did not define him. He has progressed and prospered in so many ways because he worked hard, because he was believed in, and was given the right tools and supports to thrive.

I’m one of the positive moms. What does this mean? It means I speak with hope. It means I choose joy.  It means I choose to not focus on the hard and see the good in every day. I speak about my child with respect and I don’t expose the most vulnerable and intimate moments of his life. I don’t infantilize him.

Do you want to know what happens when I speak against those who don’t respect their autistic child/adult child and/or autistic individuals as a whole?

I get called fake.

I get told I’m not being real.

I’m called names like “mean girl” and “mommy shamer”.

I’m accused of not understanding severe autism because I don’t have a child who is severely affected.

People tell me I spew “bullshit”.

Bullshit… because I stick up for autistic individuals?

Wow…

These comments come from parents with autistic children. The same people who preach they want to learn and grow. Who claim they want to listen to autistic adults and respect their views.

Then they make a comment about how they talk to their six year old child like a toddler because their child couldn’t possibly understand otherwise.

Now that is bullshit.

Not only is that infantilizing, it’s demeaning, and it’s offensive to the autistic person. No matter their age. I promise you, they understand.

I think sometimes parents think because their child can’t verbalize words that they must not understand or be smart enough to comprehend what’s being said to them.

That simply isn’t true. Their verbal abilities do not define their intelligence. Read that again.

Their verbal abilities do not define their intelligence.

Don’t assume that it does. They know more than you think and give them credit for.

Presume competence.

Presume they are listening and they understand for one day, it may come to light that they knew all along how they were being thought of and spoken to.

What will you be saying then?

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