Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Caffeinated Aspie: Autistic People Should Exist

This post was originally published on The Caffeinated Aspie.

Today is flash blog day! Autistic people like myself were asked to complete the phrase “autistic people should…” This is in response to the current Google autocomplete searches for those phrases, which are, to be kind, problematic at best, and downright triggering at worst.
So here’s mine.
Autistic people should exist.
That seems really simple and obvious, doesn’t it? I mean, I’m sure even now, there are some of you scoffing at the idea that anyone would wish that we didn’t exist.
But it happens.
It happens too much.
When we hear talk of a cure for autism, we don’t hear “help treat the more distressing symptoms that often accompany autism (but may not be linked at all)”. We hear that you don’t want people like us to exist. You advocate for research, but you leave us out of the conversation and we are erased. Autism isn’t something that exists; it’s a thing that happens to our parents.
I refuse to accept that.
I exist.
My children exist.
My friends exist.
Autistic people around the world exist.
And you are barking up the wrong tree if you think I’m going to sit back and let you wish people like me out of existence. You may have the power, but I have a loud voice when things matter. I will make my voice heard.
I deserve to exist.
I deserve to be respected for who I am.
I deserve to not hear ableist rhetoric multiple times a day about how “tragic” my life supposedly is – or better yet, how “tragic” my parents’lives are because I exist.
My neurology is not a tragedy.
I am a mother, an educator, a writer, a singer…l am all of those things. But I’m also Autistic, with a capital A.
I exist.
I deserve to exist.
Autistic people should exist.
Simple, no?

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