Dear non-Autistic people,
The topic of Autism has gained popularity. Good, right ? Kinda. It raises education about Autism.
But whose voices do we amplify? Think deeply.
It's allistic voices! The voices of people who aren't actually Autistic. Yet, they talk about Autism as if they knew what it's like to be Autistic. Especially a subset of allistic people - those mothers of Autistic children who dub themselves Autism Moms - are prone to this behavior. Some of them even claim to be the voices of their non-verbal Autistic children.
Isn't an engaged mother good? Well, of course. But the mothers I'm talking about are often engaged in things that actually harm Autistic people, such as ABA. ABA is short for Applied Behavior Analysis. It's a method that's supposed to make us allistic.
ABA is based on gay conversion therapy. It includes various forms of abuse, from extremely visible ones like electric shocks to almost invisible ones. That teaches us that our neurotype is inherently wrong and worthy of torture.
Us Autistic people have been speaking up against ABA for years. Yet, allistic people still defend it. And that is where Autism Moms come to play: Society amplifies their voices a million times. They raise Autistic children. They must know better than anyone else, right?
Eh. When people claim that Autism Moms know best, they forget about one group of people: Their Autistic children. Us. We are the ones who live the Autism - our allistic parents are the ones who observe it.
Now, of course, mothers only want the best for their children. Most Autism Moms that I met were convinced they were helping their kids. But that's because they only see behavior. All they see is that the behavior of their children changes. What only the children can see is all the processes that go along with them.
Who knows about these processes, however, if not Autism Moms? - The answer is simple. Autistic people. A large part of Autistic adults have first-hand experience with ABA and other harmful practices. Still, allistic people seem to ignore us. There are Autism organisations that have not a single Autistic board member. Zero. Zip. Nada. And when we dare to speak up, they silence us immediately. They say we're tone policing, attacking, even oppressing them - even when we stay kind. Even forums that were originally designed to amplify Autistic voices are overridden with that behavior. If it stays that way, the world will always be ill-equipped for us.
Then, there's another aspect of that: Language. Allistic people always seem to force person-first language on us. They call us people with Autism when we've declared over and over again that we prefer to be called Autistic people. And they come up with even more unnecessary euphemisms. On the spectrum, ASD,.. You've probably heard some of them. These reek of ableism. Deep, ugly ableism. They all transfer one message: "Your Autism doesn't define you." Autism is in every cell of my body. It affects every aspect of my life. So why should I suppress it like that?
Dear allistic people: Please. Stop. Learn to sit back and listen. And stay in your damn lane. It'll help all of us.
A frustrated Autistic guy