Autistic Pride and What you Need to Know

[TW: Includes links to the abuse of Autistic people and violence against them, as well as “quiet hands” and seclusion.]
 
Autistics Speaking
Our methods of communication may not be what you are accustomed to. Sometimes we use assistive technology or just flapping intermingled with words to get the point across. But we all have things to say. Listen.
Pride
We can be proud and often are. We are proud of our neurodivergent brains. And have you ever seen a room of Autistic people flapplauding happily? Have you ever seen the joy we feel when stimming, which isn’t just a negative response? Or just the pride in our ways of thinking and doing.
Being Autistic can be hard. Being Autistic can lead to more challenges in the world, but so many of those are based in a society which values spoken/verbal communication and an education system which views it as a compilation of deficits.
More importantly, autism is not something you can change about a person, or something you can cure; it is part of our neurology, hardwired into our brains, so why not be proud?
Also, have you ever seen someone’s face light up when they get on their special subject? The way they communicate and move and they are the expert and they want to share? It’s beautiful. I can tell you everything about cats, I can explain to you my dragons on Flight Rising, or describe every aspect of eugenic history: I can recite eugenics books in my sleep (almost), name top eugenicists, describe the way they described people, tell you what state passed the first sterilization law and when, who first came up with eugenics in the U.K. and that he was a cousin of Charles Darwin, inform you of how it made its way to Nazi Germany and that American eugenicist Harry Laughlin was later honored by Heidelberg University and he accepted it with pride.

Nightmares: Open Your Eyes to the Things that Happen
People have nightmares all the time. Being locked up in rooms, not knowing how to get out or when they ever will. Violent nightmares where they’re at the hands of someone who wants to do them harm. A lot of us live these nightmares in seclusion rooms. We get punished for flapping or making a noise or dropping a pencil or moving in the wrong way or if we argue with someone we get put in a room, locked in. These things happen where we’re supposed to be safe, places like schools,places where we’re supposed to be able to get an education.
Some of us are afraid, not so much from random strangers on the street but from the people who claim to love us. Some of us are the victims of violence and abuse that’s either called self-defense or therapy, like Issy Stapleton, whose mother called her violent and tried to kill her.Some of us don’t make it out alive, like Alex Spourdalakis, drugged and stabbed to death. These things happen when we’re supposed to be safe, places like our homes, places where we’re supposed to be loved and supported.
Most people can wake up from nightmares, but some of us can’t. We hold a vigil every year for the victims of violence. We unite to try and put an end to these things.

A Guidebook for the Non-Autistic: Things You Need to Recognize
  • Presumption of competence, believing in our ability to learn and understand, will bring us farther than any abusive therapies.
  • We are marginalized, but we’re still here and we will not be quiet; listen to us about things that concern us.
  • Behavior is communication; do not assume behaviors have no reasons behind them, and do your best to understand.
  • The same goes for watching us in public; we may look weird and different to you, but we have reasons and should not be shunned.
  • Representation in the media is not accurate.
  • We can provide valuable information on our disability and autism, and you should listen.
  • The value of our lives are not less regardless of the level of support we need. We have the same rights to life, love, education, jobs, and living conditions as anyone else.
  • Listen.
~
Kit Mead
Autistics Speaking Day 2014
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