Wednesday, November 1, 2017

#Autistics Speaking Day

Jane Au Strauss writes #Autistics Speaking Day

Trigger warning:  Violence, domestic violence, chemical restraint, PTSD

#Autistics Speaking Day

It completely slipped my mind that today was “Autistics Speaking Day” - likely because my unwillingness to toe anyone’s party line has apparently gotten me out of the loop for such information. So maybe this will show up somewhere else or maybe not.
These days, I find increasingly that I am neither fish nor fowl. Definitely not NT - and due to my situation, not easily fitting into the world of the “autistic activists” few of whom are parents, and fewer of whom seem to have offspring who have ever presented significant behavioral challenges or been anything but delightful. Thus, they cannot relate to my world or my experience.

Discussion needs to begin about some issues that are ignored within our “community”. I’ll just list them and end, because even that is too stressful.
  1. Autistics do not only have meltdowns. Sure we do. But some also have tantrums, intentional behavior to get attention or something else they want, and well meaning people who cannot tell the difference may reward that intentional behavior, resulting in increased challenges for parents and other caregivers.
  2. Yes, Virginia, some autistic people, even children and young adults, do aggress. In such situations caregivers, including parents, including siblings, including (fill in the blank) can become fearful and can even get PTSD. Especially when the caregiver is autistic as well. Think meltdown plus physical assault and the knowledge that there are no helpful answers out there. And yes, that happens. And claiming that bringing this up is the same thing as the “autistics are monsters” narrative is dismissive and helps nobody.
  3. Yes, Virginia, autistic on autistic abuse exists. Neither ignoring it nor calling it something else will change that.
  4. No, Virginia, there are not good resources out there to help, especially when the parent, who is on spectrum, believes in presuming competence and does not believe in chemical strait jackets.
  5. Yes, Virginia, resources are needed - and must be planned with better interaction with everyone, including non-NT parents, or other parents who presume competence, than currently happens in most places in the IEP process. More options are needed for housing, for help with challenges IN THE COMMUNITY, for safety,for learning survival skills, for behavioral and emotional functioning.
  6. Here I’ll just paraphrase Laura Tisoncik - When the label is high functioning, your challenges are ignored along with any possibility of a meltdown, but when the label is low functioning, your gifts, intentional behavior, and potential are ignored, and in neither case does anyone come out a winner - everyone, and society, loses.

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