Friday, May 31, 2019

Nothing About us without Us

I am an autistic adult. I spend most of my waking hours caring for my autistic children, running my small business and advocating for autistic rights.This includes the right to not have dangerous “cures” used on us. And today I have been silenced.
Let me explain. I was asked by someone to do an autism training. He thought “who better to ask than an autistic?” Seems perfectly logical. So naturally, I started to type up how I was going to carry out the training. I was thinking “I was really going to make a difference for these kids.” Today I got a rude awakening.
When I get the message “We would rather have a therapist do it.” An ABA therapist. An adult who uses dog training methods to teach kids how to mask who they really are. Teaching autistic children that their natural tendencies are not good enough. Who they are is not good enough. Forced eye contact. No stimming allowed. Must appear to be neurotypical. This is a recipe for PTSD.
This stops now. As the Autistic Self Advocacy Network says “Nothing about us without us.” We deserve to be included on this. After all we do live it.
This mirrors Galludet University’s “Deaf present now” movement in the 1990's. The University for the Deaf in Washington, DC never had a Deaf president. It did not make any sense. There were protests and strikes and eventually they did have a Deaf president of the university.
Why do people think that autistic people should not be included in autistic issues? No more.
Autistic activists and advocates will never stop. Silence us if you must, but we will still be here and we will continue to fight.

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