Thursday, July 4, 2013

Classic Neurodivergence: You aren't autism. We are. Shut up and listen.

This was originally posted Sept 23, 2009. I stand by the swearing. Not so sure about the drive off a bridge implied suggestion. Go drive over it and far away, sure. I no longerst would choose to make the ageist comments about juvinility or adolescence either. But I totally stand by the swearing. And have not edited the post in any way.
This was a reaction to that awful "I am Autism" video. Simply ghastly.

**Profanity ahead. It's well earned,**

I saw the new Autism Speaks video shortly after finding out they've got a fundraiser in my stay-weird-pride-and-hippies-and-nonconformity city. And all I have to say to that is:

Autism Speaks, shut the fuck up and get the fuck out. There are a number of bridges here. You like driving off bridges, right? Go pick one but leave us the hell alone. And do the right thing, the responsible thing, and leave your children with a responsible adult (you are neither of these things, either as individuals or a collective) while you do so.

The vast majority of the autistic community utterly LOATHES you, Autism Speaks. Why? Because you purport to speak for us. YOU DON'T. You don't speak for your children either. You speak with the voice of spoilt parents who don't want children, but puppets. You are SPOILED.

Now, there is NO acceptable, none whatsoever, NO acceptable justification for anything in that video. "Faster than cancer and AIDS", REALLY? REALLY? I'm in my mid 20s and haven't died yet. What the hell? Oh wait. Autism doesn't kill you. This is profoundly disrespectful to people with fatal diseases. STOP DOING IT. It's also disrespectful to autistic people. Haven't you heard? We are people. Yep, that child who embarrasses you oh so much (oh poor you. Be a grownup and get over it) is in fact their very own person, and spreading that kind of hate is disrespectful.

No one kidnapped us. We are not the destroyer of hopes and dreams-as awesome as Kassiane, Destroyer of Dreams sounds, that's not how it is. Children do not exist to live your dreams. We have our own dreams. Time to get over the myth of the perfect child--everyone has to, not just the parents of autistic children--and learn to accept that your children are their own people. Time to let them dream their own dreams instead of wanking for DECADES on the fact that they aren't the child you wanted. It's disgusting. It's juvenile. It is narcissistic and it is tired. Your adolescence is over.

Shut the fuck up and go away. Let AUTISTICS speak. Stop trying to rob us of the communication which we fight so hard for. You don't speak for us. You don't fight for us. You fight against us, with lies, hate, bigotry, and your own self centered lack of empathy. I feel for your children, but not because they're autistic. Because they have to live with such monsters for parents. Monsters who fight the very core of their childrens' beings, demonize them to everyone, just to make it all about mommy. Screw that.


Gabriela Gondim said...


My name is Gaby, and I am currently a special education teacher in Chicago. I am also working on my masters in special education and I've been doing some research on disability activists, for classes and for my own personal gain and knowledge. I stumbled on your blog and was wondering if you had a few minutes to answer some of my questions.

I have also seen the Autism Speak video you speak of. My whole masters cohort has seen it several times. I also have a friend who works for Autism Speaks and I have recently attempted to pick her brain about the intent of that video and we also talked about the problem of trying to speak on the behalf of the autistic community. That being said, what would you wish non-disabled people to understand about disability and autism?

I would love any/all of your view points that you might think would be helpful.


Gabriela Gondim

Neurodivergent K said...

This is a very deep and complicated question. And a lot of it has been answered by Autistic and other disabled bloggers throughout the internet.

And I don't open ended question well. And anyone who works for Autism Speaks is suspect. They're complacent in the killing and demonization of a whole lot of us.

NewtToad said...

Neurodiversity gets so much criticism and controversy directed at it, and yet I am an Aspie/Autistic who is also a major proponent of Neurodiversity. Though I'm wondering how many psychiatrists are actually on our side, believing that Asperger's/Autism is not a disorder, but instead, it's a difference. Psychiatrists are the ones we absolutely must convince. Yet, just like LGBT, we will have a long road ahead of us. I have severe depressive episodes over this, and mental complexes, neuroses, and everything. Sometimes I wonder if the things they say about Autism are true, even though it seems irrational for me to think that. And it makes me sick, my stomach has a butterfly pit, and I can't sleep. My stims turn from enjoyable stims to self-regulatory stims because I'm constantly putting myself under stress. My thoughts run in circles, there's always an inner critic saying something, and not only that -- I also replay all of the real criticism I've personally received in my head, over and over again, in lurid detail. Depression hurts, a lot. Learned helplessness, perhaps? Internalized self-hatred? I don't know, but I want it to end. I have a great life, really. There's nothing to complain about. Yet the realization just sets in, the realization that I am either oppressed or disordered. I never thought I was disordered before, and it wasn't just a defense mechanism getting in the way of thinking that. I really always liked who I was. But then I got around to thinking; big questions, small questions, all questions. I had a pretty coherent philosophy before, and yet I wonder if it's wrong. And I think about God, and particularly the Abrahamic God, and how it's such a damned Neurotypical construct, and yet I'm afraid of it. I want to see a world of diversity and difference; one of heavily body modified folks like Stalking Cat and Lizard Man, all races, red people, blue people, Otherkin, Gothic folks, LGBT, Autistics, and all kinds of difference. And yet, I'm scared. Why am I scared? Why can't I just be free, and be me, without fear? I hope soon I can just look back at this nonsense and doubt and laugh at how silly I was.

NewtToad said...

I think Neurodiversity needs to go elsewhere, utilizing other forms of media such as television, radio, magazines, and whatnot. The Internet is great, but I think television will expose a greater number of people to the movement. Instead we have dangerous folks like Jenny McCarthy peddling their horseshit. We have to let a wider audience know who we are. We have to get on TV to do this. Or else we have to protest regularly outside. We have to stage protests all over. I understand that the Internet is the best medium for most Autistics, myself included. And therefore the ND movement should continue to do its work primarily online. Though the Internet makes content more selective, I think. We don't just want to preach to the choir. Also, we shouldn't be focusing so much on the Mercury Militia, because the scientific community already says it's BS. I mean, yes, denounce it where you see it, because it does harm children, but we have to do MORE. We have to focus on Psychiatry itself. We have to change the perspective of Psychiatry and psychiatrists, as well as the world. There are many otherwise rational individuals who view Autism as a disorder, rather than just who we are. Not to mention the non-Autists who just conform to their society all the time and believe difference is wrong. We have to change all of this. This movement has the potential to become a groundbreaking, REVOLUTIONARY civil rights movement. But we have A LOT of work to do, and we can't give up. We have to fight the main targets and not let our attention be diverted. We also have to make a scene anywhere we can, and we can't let ourselves be ignored no matter what. We have to become a force to be reckoned with. Bear in mind, I'm not encouraging violence of any kind.