Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Autistics Speaking Day: This is why we need it.

The past couple days I have been talking about the Orycon having an autism panel utterly devoid of Autistics panel situation. And I will likely be talking about it the next couple days as well.

This situation is proof that we need Autistics Speaking Day-that our work is not yet done.

It should be a given that when people talk about us, they should instead stand beside us and talk with us. It should not be a novel idea that Autistic people have things to say on autism. The idea of Autistic advocates, or Autistic adults, or Autistic people who are not directly related to the neurotypical who decided that they're an autism expert, that shouldn't be a novel idea.

They should never have planned a panel without Autistic representation. If for some reason they had made the oversight, they should have been apologetic and done their best to fix it.

They would not have doubled down, derailed, and tried to tell me why non autistic parents of autistic children are better representatives of autism, the Autistic experience, than actual Autistic people are.

That is the sort of behavior that, in a world that doesn't need Autistics Speaking Day, would be socially disadvantageous in the extreme.

Maybe one day we won't need Autistics Speaking Day.

That'll be the day that not a single presentation on autism is given without an Autistic point of view strongly represented.

That'll be the day that not a single book or article on autism gets past editors without notable Autistic input.

That'll be the day that everyone understands that knowing an Autistic person doesn't mean you know what it is to be an Autistic person.

That'll be the day that everyone-and I do mean everyone-knows that not all autistic people are exactly alike.

It'll be the day that general society knows that Autistics grow up-the day that not every piece of media is about autistic children.

It'll be the day when we are finally acknowledged on the experts of our own reality, as the primary stakeholders in autism discourse, and as the people who have the ultimate perspective on the Autistic experience.

We won't need Autistics Speaking Day when our voices are heard every day.

Orycon just showed me how far we have to go.


Brenda Rothman (Mama Be Good) said...

You are on the leading edge of educating, of broadening people's horizons, of pushing past barriers. The edge is rough - you and autistic persons like you take the brunt of the push-back. I wish the push-back wasn't so hard. I wish I could take the brunt for you. But one day, thanks to your work, there will be no edge. And that is my dream.

Deber said...

Great post. Wish I was as articulate. Wish I was as brave in speaking about being autistic. I was an advocate for my autistic child and grandchild but not for myself. Most of my life I've spent trying to hide my autistic traits in an attempt to be accepted as "normal". Couldn't hide a lot of my traits as a child and young adult so was punished for being different. Got a dx as an adult. Have been evaluated twice because one Dr. refused to accept the results until I was tested by his colleague. As an older adult I can fool some people but after a while most notice that I'm not neuro typical. I've started coming out to select people.
I hope one day I will no longer hear stupid remarks like "you don't look autistic" or "I think the testing results are wrong, you are not autistic, you are just high-strung" or "what special talents do you have - are you really good with numbers"
There are so many autistic adults that it is unthinkable that a panel about autism would not have one of them as a participant.
Thank you for educating. Thank you for pushing. Hopefully Orycon will listen and make changes.