Autistic people Taught Me About Autism


This is an address to parents and people who
care for and assist autistic people. I’ve been feeling more autistic lately if
that makes sense. Just using echoes more, using scripts more, just thinking about things I do,
I just flapped at a cat for five minutes the other day. I stim more, I’m more open, and it’s because
I follow so many people on tumblr and I can talk to them and I also follow Autistic people
on Facebook and I’m autistic myself. So being around other autistic people is important. And this is to autistic people themselves:
being around autistic people lets you know you can do things with them, and also on your
own, like when the situations permit. It almost gives you an internal permission
to let go. When I started my blog, I was like, I will only write about this serious
stuff, this activist stuff, I’m not going to write about my funky little autistic whatevers. And then I realized I need the joy of being
Autistic. I write posts that might seem a bit silly now. I will start tagging with these
echoes that I had in my head and never used. Being around other autistic people is important. And if you’re a parent or caregiver reading
this, let your autistic kids and adults if you have legal guardianship over them, be around
other autistic people. Don’t isolate them from neurodivergence. That
in of itself can be as harmful as a physical seclusion room. It will make them feel like they are alone,
that they are the only one who feels these things, that it is not okay to be these things, and
it is okay to be these things. And this is not my usual long and flowing, eloquent
and detached activism, if you could call it that. This is an autistic person asking for people
to respect our lived experiences. I was like your child. I climbed trees, I
ran around shrieking, and you know, just, chasing people down the hall because I was
afraid of them, I was afraid of people talking to me, I didn’t know how to talk to them,
and it was because nobody let me know that there are other ways to communicate. I was like some of those kids in the alarmist
documentaries. I’m worthy of dignity and autonomy, and even
if I wasn’t, like, you know, not doing all that stuff now, like right now, I’m not, I don’t chase
people down the hall screaming at them for putting their hand even remotely near me… Even if I did all that, I’d still be worthy
of respect and autonomy, um, so are your kids, and relatives, whether nonspeaking or speaking
or they need aides, or what level of supports they need… And other autistic people are the ones who taught me this self advocacy and activism. It was just a label before I met autistic people that I still talk to. I call them friends, and acquaintances, and
I respect them. Though psychiatrists and psychologists can
be useful, other autistic people taught me what autism means, not them. And to autistic people who are watching this,
you have the right to know other autistic people, you have the right to share experiences
and have yourself be validated. Thank you.

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