I know, the disclaimer is getting old. Oh, also, please read to the end. I'm really trying to explain where I am coming from & provide ample context, not to attack anyone.
If you don't know what the title is referencing, The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism hosted/is still hosting at the time of this posting a series that will hopefully turn into a dialogue between autistic people & parent advocates (and plans are, autistic parent advocates).
And there was this Twitter conversation between Emily, who is an editor of TPGA, and Robert Rummel-Hudson, who was the allistic parent involved.
And then the internet exploded, because how it reads is "do not listen to autistic people, you do not have to."
What Emily was actually saying, in her own words, is posted here on her personal blog.
That doesn't mean, though, that it didn't read to a whole lot of us as "you do not have to listen to those autistic people". That does not mean it wasn't taken as "you do not have to listen to those autistic people" by someone or many someones.
See, that's the default most people take: not listening to autistic people. That's kind of what started this whole thing, isn't it? Not considering disabled people in disability matters? The whole false dichotomy of either parents or disabled people have voices that count?
When you are autistic or otherwise disabled, you know every day that people aren't listening to you, and certainly aren't trying to understand you. They are often coming up with reasons to not have to listen to you. We've been over all this before-silencing tactics, Not Like My Child, Argument from Tone, Parenting Is Hard, etc. It's significant. There aren't enough squares in a Bingo card, and it stops being funny when you get a blackout on 3 different cards in under 5 minutes anyway.
And I expect variants on "I don't have to listen to you! You can tie your shoes/you're a girl/you're a Scorpio/whatever" from a whole lot of people. It's a pattern.
But I don't expect anything that looks like that from people who I respect, people who I considered to be, you know, kind of on my side? And I respect Emily immensely. This post wouldn't be happening if I didn't respect Emily immensely. Based on her blog she has done a lot for her sons that I wish my parents had been willing and able to do for me. None of this is intended as attacky towards Emily.
Reading the Twitter feed, we have no context for what is going through the minds of the people tweeting. Read alongside the thought process post, the conversation makes a lot of sense and isn't particularly offensive. Other people are talking about neutrality issues, but I really don't give a poo about that-I like to assume if an autistic poster was similarly hesitant, someone from TPGA would be supportive of them, too, so that's reasonable to my eyes.
But what we see without that background information? It's kind of like that game kids do? "Open your mouth, close your eyes, in will come a big surprise!" and you're expecting something delicious because it's someone you trust, only instead of something delicious they give you a vinegar soaked cotton ball. That other kid over there may always stick vinegar soaked cotton balls in people's mouths, but this person usually sticks to fine chocolate! What just happened?!
I suspect if it wasn't everywhere that autistic people are to be neither seen nor heard nor understood, no one would have even noticed. I think that's where I was going with this. Unfortunately the dynamics of advocacy being what they are, & the inability to infuse relevant information to interpretation, probably made this whole Twitter thing bigger and more awful than it ever needed to be.