AUTISM is a big thing! Neurodiversity is a big thing!
Have you ever thought about it, walking with your head faced down or with shades on to avoid that gaze? That anxious gaze? Or the fact that you can feel everything change in a split second with just touch? The mood swings? The aversion to bright lights? How sounds, no matter how tiny, can mess up your whole day? But then you’re expected to brush it away like the wave of a wand?
This is not magic, of course. You didn’t choose it, you don’t even get to choose how you feel on most days. It’s like in my head there’s a big collider that works on automatic, and I’ve given up on finding the switch. We know the bad days enough, but do we ever speak of the triumphs? The breakthrough contributions in the arts, the sciences, humanities, the wonderful differences? Because every time I hear the word “autism,” I imagine the stigma that comes with it, I imagine being that cat in the presence of a thousand dogs wanting me to act like a dog.
“Disrespect” is a word that comes to mind because I’ve found out the word “respect” has been redefined (ill-defined) to only fit the context of popular opinion– a world where the perceived face of autism is a “zombie like” stereotype that must be cured, such virtue pushed by failed money-mongering institutions and bought by the very many ignorant people who wouldn’t seek out facts for themselves, neither ask autistics.
Autistic individuals need acceptance, care, support, an empowering and less-stressful environment, and coping strategies– not a cure. Furthermore, autistics have been relegated to the background and have been silenced on issues of theirs.
Needless to say, there’s no autism without autistics.
The world is such a hard place for disabled people. We’ve been treated with neglect, pushed around, lied about by pseudoscience and the popular media, so now we struggle with internalized ableism and depression all cast on us by falsities and lies, all the while growing up through “difficult” times. With the number of autistic individuals on the rise, it seems nature is having the last gasp, the last laugh? Because “autism research” now sounds like a “cure search.”
All chase for a cure has failed.
Perhaps it’s “unacceptance” that needs to be cured. Need I ask, what are we curing?