I’m writing this to everyone but especially those who blog on WordPress (and in this case follow the hashtag #weekendcoffeeshare). I know from past experience of my post “I Stand Quietly” that WordPress bloggers can help things to go viral globally… and I hope that you might choose to make that happen again, but this time, it’s not my words I want to share…
If we were having coffee, today, I would probably mention that it is World Autism Awareness Day and, perhaps, you would switch off a little. That’s OK. Either it’s something that you are interested in, or not, I’m not interested in a lot of things that others feel passionately about…
However as bloggers I hope that you are interested in writings, feelings, expressions of self. Humanity in all forms. I hope that you understand the fear and loneliness of being misunderstood, discounted, ignored and the yearning desire to be heard, believed, accepted, included…
I know that if someone dismissed your words, out of hand, without justification or explanation; if someone argued against your words (feelings, beliefs, your very self) then you would be outraged, bewildered, devastated and more…
Below I have linked to the words of an autistic called Jim Sinclair, words that I admit I only discovered recently. I wish that these words were more widely known, so that if/when autism enters someone’s life, they are already aware that it’s OK, specifically so that parents of a newly diagnosed autistic child know that it’s OK.
The most important thing about these words is that they were written in 1993 – nearly a quarter of a century ago – since then revolutionary things have happened in the world; the internet, blogging and mobile technology have given so many a voice, a community, access to information, knowledge, the ability to communicate and advocate and still, we are mostly frightened and ignorant about autism, spending fortunes on searching for reasons, interventions, treatments, cures, and worst of all, prevention. Autistic people don’t want that, they want acceptance and support.
So please, sit back, enjoy your coffee and a read… let’s talk afterwards.
Autism isn’t something a person has, or a “shell” that a person is trapped inside. There’s no normal child hidden behind the autism. Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person–and if it were possible, the person you’d have left would not be the same person you started with.
This is important, so take a moment to consider it: Autism is a way of being. It is not possible to separate the person from the autism.
Therefore, when parents say,
I wish my child did not have autism,
what they’re really saying is,
I wish the autistic child I have did not exist, and I had a different (non-autistic) child instead.
Read that again. This is what we hear when you mourn over our existence. This is what we hear when you pray for a cure. This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
If you would like to make a donation to the National Autistic Society who support and advocate for autistic people like my daughter Beatrix (the beautiful fierce tiger tamer in the image above) and our whole family, please click here.
US readers: please note that autistic people would like you to Boycott Autism Speaks and choose not to “Light It Up Blue” this April, Autism Speaks spends 12% of budget on autism prevention research (eugenics) and only 4% on support for autistics. For more info and how you can truly contribute to create a world where neurodiversity is accepted, then check out the Twitter hashtag #RedInstead. where you’ll find amazing #ActuallyAutistic adults to follow… Thank you.