Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I'm Tired of Asking You To Consider My Humanity

TW: ableist language 

To all of my "progressive" friends.......

I'm tired of feeling like I did something wrong when I say that you should not compare the people that you disagree with to those with psychiatric or intellectual and developmental disabilities.  I am tired of constantly having to defend my existence to those of you who claim to be my friends and family.   

You are free to use whatever ableist language you want.  I am not here to police your words.  But your words have consequences.  And one of the consequences of your choice to do and say these things is that I will think you are an ableist and I will know that you are not safe for me or my kid.  And those things are not my opinion.  They are facts.  You are not safe for us if you make us have to defend our humanity.

If you think it is okay to call someone a "moron" and "idiot", I will know that you equate the value of human life with IQ.   I do not have a high IQ.  I have been called the R word and "borderline" by teachers and professionals growing up.   I am learning disabled.  I am developmentally disabled.  I am autistic.  I am not a bad person because of these things.  My friends with intellectual and developmental disabilities are not bad people because they are not as "smart" as you think that you are.  Stop using us as your scapegoat when what you really mean is "this person I am talking about is an asshole and I disagree with them."  

If you call someone that you disagree with a "psycho" or "bipolar" or "borderline", I will know that you think my life has less value because I am neurodivergent.  I can list all the things I've been diagnosed with over the years, but I want to keep this short.  I have said before that I am "neurodivergent as fuck".  I have confused and annoyed therapists when they are supposed to be helping me because my brain works in ways that probably give them more questions than there are answers.  I am "mentally ill" by your standards.  I am one of those crazy people.  These things do not make me a bad person.   These things are not why I make mistakes.  These things are not excuses when I am less than stellar at human-ing.  

I am tired of the fact that the longer you blame people like me, the longer these problems of injustice and inequality will exist because you are ignoring the fact that we are all complicit to some degree in upholding oppressive systems.  The root of the problem is not found in the existence of neurodivergent and disabled people.  

I mean, when you fuck up, do you blame your neurology?  


Then stop blaming  mine.  

I am tired of feeling guilty because some people don't like that I ask them to consider my humanity and the humanity of so many others who don't fit into your narrow and incorrect view of what makes a good person.  I am tired of worrying about upsetting my friends by asking them to not be a jackass to people like me when trying to make a point.  I am tired of feeling like it's my fault that I lose friends who think that the freedom to call people an "idiot" without consequence matters more to them than me. 

I am not asking for perfection.  I am not expecting that of anyone and I would be a hypocrite if I did.  I did not grow up in a fucking vacuum.  I have absorbed these messages about ableism and human worth just like everybody else.  I still mess up.  But I try to do better.   I just want you to consider for a moment that maybe you need to do better too. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Don't be an "Autism Parent"

If you are the parent of an autistic child, do not be an "autism parent" who makes your child's disabilities and challenges all about you.   If you are one of those "autism mom" or "autism dad" types who thinks that you do not deserve an autistic child, then you are probably right because you don't deserve your child.  You don't deserve to be a parent if you cannot love and accept your children for everything that they are.   I know that your kids certainly don't deserve you.  

Someone whose blog I will not link to because they posted private, humiliating information about their children with pictures wrote that they do not want to be an "autism mom" anymore.  Well, don't be.  Get the fuck over yourself.  You are the only one who can stop being an "autism parent".  Your child cannot stop being autistic but you can stop being an ableist at any time.  It's really pretty simple.

Parenting is hard.    When parenting a disabled child seems more difficult, that is not the fault of the disabled child.  And parents really need to stop treating autism as if it's a behavior that your kids do at or to you.   

If you don't want to be an "autism mom" anymore, imagine how your autistic kid feels about it.  If you don't want to be an "autism parent" anymore, then don't be.  Stop.  Start being the parent your autistic child deserves. 

The following is my response to the author of the blog that shall not be named: 
The day started when I cried for my “autism mom” because the world is a scary and overwhelming place to be when your brain processes sounds and touches and smells so differently from most people. 
I wish my “autism mom” would not tell people about my most private and embarrassing moments when I need her support the most. 

I don’t want to sit on the couch with a parent who is annoyed and angry that my brain races and is on high alert so that sleeping sometimes seems impossible. 

I don’t want to have an “autism mom” who only wants me to speak when I am able to communicate in so many other ways. But she will not listen. I want an “autism mom” who does not resent me for having more complex needs than she understands. 

It is so hard to love someone who wishes you were not yourself.

I want a mom who has fun with me instead of turning everything into therapies and “teachable moments”. 

I want my mom to know that I am valuable and have every right to be included with everyone else. 

I want my “autism mom” to listen even when I do not communicate with spoken words.

I want a parent who presumes competence and believes that with the right supports, I can do so many things. I want a parent who does not resent me when my disabilities make doing some things impossible. 
I am tired of missing out on my childhood. I am tired of my “autism mom” telling the world that I have no value and am too hard to love and my needs are too great as my autistic self and then being surprised when everyone follows her lead.

I don’t want an “autism parent” anymore.

I am tired of being forced into situations that are too overwhelming and not being given the tools to manage sensory overwhelm or advocate for myself when I have had too much.

I am tired of the never ending judgement, the bitterness and the horrid things my “autism mom” says to other people about me.

I am tired of being subjected to therapies and interventions that seek to make me a non autistic version of myself. I am tired of forced compliance and being rewarded for pretending to be a version of myself that hurts. 

I simply cannot comprehend how society could ever break my heart more than not being accepted by my parent. 

I am tired of people having meetings about me, without me.

I am tired of being in a hostile sensory environment and being punished for not being able to handle it. 

I am tired of my “autism mom” fighting autism instead of confronting ableism. 

I don’t want an “autism mom” anymore.

I don’t want a parent who cannot appreciate my gifts and only focuses on the things that are harder for me. This is an adult woman who expects me, a child, to have the tools to navigate a world that is not set up for people with my kind of brain. This is an adult woman who tells people that I have the mind of a toddler and thinks that if I need intense supports now and when I grow up that my life can’t have value. 

Who would want that for a parent?

Today, and every day, I don’t want an “autism mom”. 

The problem is that I have no choice because only my “autism mom” can decide to love me, accept me, and treat me like a person who belongs and who will love me unconditionally, even when I am not the kind of child she expected to have. 

Tomorrow is a new day and I will still be autistic then. I can only hope that my “autism mom” can love me like I deserve.

If you don't want to be an "autism mom" anymore, then don't.  I promise that your kids don't want you to be one either.   

image: green background with black text that reads: "If you don't want to be an 
"autism parent" anymore, then don't be.  Stop.  Start being the parent your autistic child deserves. 
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