As I gathered information about autism on the internet, I came across many divergent opinions and theories from people on the web, both with and without Autism. Some saying I should be fixed, some saying I should love and accept myself and be happy, and some saying I need to fight.
Amongst those with autism, having similar lives, feelings and experiences as mine there is much disagreement and debate. However I noticed one unifying theme:
Autism Speaks sucks
I am not one to jump on a bandwagon, so I did not take up the fight against this organization immediately. However due to the criticism from my Autistic peers that have more knowledge and experience, I dismissed them as a source of reliable information.
One of the standout reasons for outrage was a video called "Autism Every Day", in which I was informed a neurotypical mom discussed her urge to kill herself and her Autistic child, and did so in front of her child. I decided to spare myself this sight and take my spoons and research elsewhere.
I started blogging under the "be happy" philosophy of the three I above listed. I was (and still am) deeply in self discovery mode. I read other blogs. I liked the activist ones. I felt empathy. I wanted to get involved, but wasn't sure how, or if I was welcome.
ASAN's view "Nothing about us without us" is logical. Why shouldn't people represent themselves? I made a donation. I bought "Loud Hands". I cried
I learned about the "Autistic People Should" and "Autistic People Are" flash blogs from Yes, That Too. I decided that was a good place for me to step in. I was late with my entry because I had no idea what I was doing.
I was disgusted by that autosearch. I revealed my self diagnosis to NT friends. I linked texted them to check that autosearch. I linked Yes, That Too to them. They told me not to get involved. I linked Radical Neurodivergence Speaking to them. I have not heard from them since.
I had always been "other", but I had always tried not to be. When I made it clear that I was no longer interested in contorting myself into one of "them", I became less than other. "They" do not want me to exist. People I have laughed and cried with even had a fling with turned their back on me for simply admitting that I had a different brain type. They erased me.
I realized I was in a fight, and my options were to press on, or return whence I came. Forget this blogging thing, forget activism, forget autism. Go back to living in the shadows, pretending to be what people wanted me to be.
I won't lie. I have considered option B. I have questioned myself and why I am getting involved. As Tolkien wrote, "It's dangerous business, going out your door". It is easy to be a coward. It kills you, but it is easy.
The flash blog was a success. Google vowed to fix the autosearch. I felt great for a minute. Then Autism Speaks erased me again.
They posted a story about the autocorrect on their Facebook wall on 2/28 but gave no credit to the activists. A lot of Autistic people worked a lot harder than I did on that project. (Story was updated on 3/6 after a week of protesting)
For me, it was validation of the belief. The theory became law:
Autism Speaks sucks
I watched that atrocity "Autism Every Day". I was prepared for Alison Singer's filicidal fantasies. I was not prepared for the dozens of other ways that video would make me want to vomit. I was not prepared to listen to an overprivileged mom lamenting the loss of her morning bagel dates because of her autistic child. I was not prepared for the amount of fearmongering I would witness. I was not prepared to watch people exploit their children for charitable donations.
Mothers in a video saying they need help because of their child's autism, they can't socalize because of their child's autism, they can't hold a job because of their child's autism. And dong this for a charity that provides next to no help (4% of their budget) for families with Autistic children, but provides plenty of rhetoric for hating Autistic children.
Yes, you are a sham.
You could have gotten the support of someone like me. A guy with a job that hes overqualified for. A guy looking for support and answers. A smart guy that doesn't quite get it in social settings. A guy that is into weird things. A guy with odd physical gestures. A guy that is tough enough to survive in a world that does not want him to survive. A guy with a voice, who is going to use it now against you.
This is my first Autism
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