Every single time a person responds to the concept of positive autistic identity with comments such as:
"That's all well and good, but how about the autistic children who are *insert various behaviours and expressions along with communicative differences that society would slap on the label of "severely autistic" to*, what of them? Neurodiversity is rubbish, it doesn't work for "low functioning people who are disabled"..
Here's what I want you to know.
It's YOU that decides our neurokin who are non speaking are not like us who do speak and are autistic.
It's YOU that decides our neurokin have "levels of functioning" as human beings which ascertain their value in society.
It's YOU that assumes that we are "high functioning" or "mild" autistics.
It's YOU that contributes to the problem, rather than influencing the solution.
I know you're not seeking out, asking questions of, or listening to autistic voices.
I know you haven't educated yourself about autistic masking.
There is no competition in my community amongst autistic folx around who is more or less autistic or who functions better or worse than another.
I know you don't know what neurodiversity truly is, or you wouldn't be using functioning labels to pit us against one another.
When you come into autistic spaces and challenge positive autistic identity, you're telling autistic people we don't have a right to value ourselves because autism isn't a good thing; which means..
I am not a good thing.
When you use what you believe is "autistic behaviour" to argue against the value of neurodiversity, I know you don't understand that what you believe to be autistic behaviour is a human being in distress. Distress often caused by those around us othering us, misunderstanding us, dismissing us. forcing us into environments not safe for us and consistently exercising control over our lives based on what you believe is good and right for us.
Autistic advocates fight for human rights.
We fight for a better future for our coming generations of autistic people.
We work to create change to be better understood and accepted.
We open our arms as a community to our autistic kin, no matter how varied their autistic expression is because we radically accept, unconditionally, the value of all of us.
We understand that neurodiversity means inclusion for all of us.
So please, stop coming into autistic spaces and deciding that positive autistic identity doesn't suit those who do not communicate verbally, or who communicate in ways you fail to understand and can only translate as dysfunctional, poor and unwanted behaviour.
And please, stop outlining graphic details of the moments members of our community find themselves in extreme distress as though they're not human and deserving of dignity and privacy.
When you address "those types of autistic people", you're talking about our children, our dearest, our loved ones, and many of us.
The autistic community also consists of some powerful non speaking advocates who have full time carers.
Find them, read their pieces, learn from them about the value of their lives and their right to be positive about who they are.
Neurodiversity is for everyone.
That's the point.
Image Credit: Jonny Lew
(Image description: a close-up photo of a person's hand. A butterfly with brightly patterned wings has landed on the person's thumb.)
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