Categories
Spectrum

Blossoming

Popular saying:

If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism

Stephen Shore

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Autism […] involves varying levels of disability, depending on both the situation in which an individual is placed, and the expectations that are set.

Kirsten Lindsmith

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Just as neurotypical people aren’t uniformly skilled at everything, autistic people have varying levels of competence in different areas of our lives.

Cynthia Kim

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[…] you can be excellent at one thing and barely coping at another. We simply can’t make such a sweeping generalisation of someone’s ability to function.

Bec Oakley

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[…] There’s a related problem where autistic people will hear something from another autistic person, and assume that they have to be similar to that other autistic person.

Mel Baggs

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If you look around the autistic community you’ll see artists and computer programmers and teachers and writers and engineers and activists and baristas and stage managers and linguists and mathematicians and speech therapists and managers and social workers and scientists and athletes and musicians and poets and sales people and business owners and vet techs and moms and dads and grandparents and students […]

Cynthia Kim

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Many people outside the autism community don’t understand the breadth of the autism spectrum, or the effect experience, age, and environment has on our development.

Ashia Ray

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There is a whole spectrum of, very often,

reasonable [and relevant and meaningful] responses [and motivations] to unusual experiences

Partial quote, Elizabeth Bartmess

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Writing Autistic Characters: Behaviorizing vs. Humanizing Approaches

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Autistic people are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, coworkers and employees, students and teachers, friends and relatives, neighbors and community members. […] Autistic people have different abilities, different needs, different interests, and different personalities.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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Autism doesn’t make us better than other people, and it doesn’t make us worse. We’re not subhuman, and we’re not superhuman. We’re just people.

Ruti Regan

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We’re autistic, we’re human, get used to it

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Think about it this way: is there a one-size-fits-all description that sums up what it means to be human? Of course not, but does that put anyone off trying to describe it? No; instead it inspires people to explore every aspect of the human condition, doing their best to unravel its mysteries in new and intriguing ways, in the hope of giving us a deeper understanding of who we are.

Helen Wallace-Iles

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Extras:

Categories
Positions

Cure

Main argument: Severely disabled

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I don’t hate myself, I just wish there was a cure so I could function better […]

Jonathan Mitchell

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[Some people] would not want a full cure but would take half of one, perhaps lowering the impact of certain symptoms while maintaining the core traits.

Creigh, Caley

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“But if you took away my autism, I wouldn’t be me!” neurodiversity proponents cheer.

“Yes, you would, and no, you wouldn’t. And that’s all okay,” I counter. Every human on this planet […] ha[s] no inherent, independent, unchangeable, enduring selfhood as such.

Twilah Hiari

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[E]very time I see a post about anti-cure or use of “autistic” and the r-slur as insults, there are inevitably a few autistic people commenting that they would actually want a cure, or that they’re okay with people using “autistic” as an insult.

In a vacuum, these sentiments are fine. You’re entitled to your own opinion, and if you are autistic both these matters are of direct concern to you […]

But we’re not in a vacuum.

We are surrounded by ableists. […] if you present an opinion that aligns with their beliefs and goes directly against the held beliefs of the majority, they’re going to tokenize you. Because one autistic voice that agrees with them is enough to undermine the voices of literally everyone else. […]

I’m not saying you should never express that you want a cure or that you think using autism as an insult is okay. […] But you need to be very careful why and how you express these opinions, because ableists will use your voice as justification to hurt people […]

Anna

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When we stop talking about ‘curing autism’ and start talking about ‘relieving autistic suffering’, the research takes on a whole new direction. When we stop using the cognitive shortcut ‘autism’ and start describing the exact problematic behaviors and traits that are experienced as a result of environmental, physiological, or social factors […] we may actually start having productive conversations about autism […]

VisualVox

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On the one hand, I read about how people need to find the positives in their conditions to help maintain self esteem and find a balance, and that makes sense.

On the other hand, I think that if we define the condition in terms of deficits, then the creativity and energy belong to the person, not the condition. And then, the reluctance to be free of the condition (assuming such a thing is possible) disappears.

Out of context, Sarah K Reece

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The truth is – if someone had offered me a ‘cure’ that would make me completely neurotypical in the first twenty three or so years of my life, I would have torn off their hand to get it.

That’s not an admission of defeat on the topic of neurodiversity, or a surrender to the idea that a ‘cure’ for autism is something that is wanted or needed. In fact, it’s one of the core reasons that I advocate so strongly against the very idea of finding a ‘cure’.

[…]

These arguments [that support the choice of a cure] fail to address the fact that the issue here is not being autistic or being LGBTQIA+. The issue is ableism, homophobia, transphobia and all those ways that the world crushes down on you, repeating again and again that you are wrong, that you are defective, that the word was not built for you; a world that demands that you cut off your corners to fit through the hole, when the true answer was to widen the hole altogether.

Erin Ekins

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I’ve thought a lot about that mythical cure, and there have been days, many days, when I didn’t have to think at all – when I knew that, if I had a chance, I’d take a cure in a heartbeat.

I want the things a cure could give me. […]

Can you look at the list of things I want, and tell me if you see a pattern?

Every single one of those things I want?

Have nothing to do with being autistic.

In the end, there are really two things I want when I say I wish I wasn’t autistic or I want a cure. I want to not feel like a freak, and I want to feel safe. Those are hard, scary things to feel and to admit. And, because I’m being honest, I have to ask something even scarier.

What if being cured didn’t fix those things?

Julia Bascom

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We need to rally for mutual respect. We need to rally for diversity. We need to rally for healing. And yes, some of us choose to rally for cures and therapies and miracles. But I think that can be done in a way that isn’t going to hurt others. I think it can be done in a way that makes people look at us in awe and think, “Wow, now there is a group of people that can disagree without bullying one another.” […]

I choose not to say SUCK IT AUTISM on my blog anymore. I mean, I will say it sucks in my head every once in a while, because truth be told, it’s just how I feel sometimes; I don’t want to lie to you. It really is how I feel sometimes. Not every second, not every minute, not even every day. But I do think and feel it sometimes.

But I know now what that particular phrase is capable of and while it invigorated me when I used it the other day, it brought other people to tears when they heard it. And I’ll tell ya, nothing takes the wind out of my sails like realizing just how much damage something I write can cause. […]

Jo Ashline

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[…] And for that matter the whole cure topic gets oversimplified the same way.

While I strongly disagree with the notion of cure and all it represents, not all decent people have even heard of my point of view and not all decent people would agree with me once they did.

I have worked right alongside people who want cures (some of whom even did ‘biomed’), in order to fight for good adult services, against restraints and seclusion, against institutions in all their forms from huge to tiny and stereotypical to stealth, and a lot of other issues that we can agree on.

And I have met anti-cure people who are aspie supremacists, who do great harm to autistic people (especially those they perceive as inferior), and who I would rarely if ever find anything to agree with them on, not even the reasons for opposing cure.

Mel Baggs

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Basically, if there were to legitimately be no pressure to become neurotypical, if being autistic were actually OK, if it were a choice a person made for themself and only themself, with informed consent […] in that world? If it existed, and they chose it, I would shake their hands and wish them luck.

In the world we actually live in, I expect that the cure would be forcibly used on children, […] on anyone who receives services, and for any portions of the autistic community who technically were getting it only under informed consent, choosing not to would be used as a sign of incompetence, at which point it would be forced. That means any organization that states finding a cure as a mission is inherently not trusted.

Alyssa Hillary

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Unlike the porous and broad meaning of ‘disability’ – a word that has come to reflect the potential for community building and solidarity across difference in many disability communities – philosophical and medical framings of ‘severe disability’ presume undesirability, objective tragedy, and potentially a lack of personhood.

Sunaura Taylor

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Categories
Positions

Acceptance

Major concept: Neurodiversity

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Kindness without respect is worthless

Erin Human

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Just like you shouldn’t force people to be proud of their autism, you shouldn’t force people to be ashamed of it either.

2Pacula_Was_Taken

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Now if we could only get the rest of the world to calm down and not stereotype [my son], we might get some serious quality of life improvements and more stress-free community inclusion going forward.

Mrs. Kerima Çevik

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Acceptance is not
giving up […]
doing nothing […]
what happens after you’ve fixed someone to your liking
[or] throwing away all rules, manners, education, skills and coping strategies.

Cynthia Kim

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Neurodiversity isn’t about pretending that autism, other developmental disabilities and psychiatric disabilities are all sunshine and rainbows. It’s about believing that we should be able to live our lives on our own terms and that our community should continue to exist, and doing whatever we can to make sure that happens.

Shain M. Neumeier

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Most parents are scared, insecure, unsupported and exhausted. […]

As autistic adults, we say that we are the real experts on autism by virtue of our lived experience. By the same logic, you can’t claim to be an expert on parenting if you’re not a parent. […]

Parents, in turn, don’t always listen to autistic adults as much as they should and thereby miss out on some very valuable insights.

Maura Campbell

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Growing up autistic in a world made for non-autistic minds is difficult. Then again, so is growing up lefty in a world made for righties.

It’s not better or worse – just different. Families with lefties, women, people of color, LGBQT, and kids with disabilities love each other exactly as they are and wouldn’t trade them for a child who has an easier path ahead. Raising a child on the autism spectrum has its challenges, but so does raising any child. All of us will have our obstacles.

Ashia Ray

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I come down, on the whole, firmly on the side of the self-advocates; I think it is critical to listen carefully to what any marginalized community says about their own experiences.

At the same time, I think they sometimes forget that many parents do not have the tools or the ability to build a fully autism-friendly life for their children, and that some compromises simply have to be made (as much as I hate them) at this point, in order for an autistic child to be integrated into our terribly narrow-minded society. […]

Restless Hands

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When parents like me talk about our kids with disabilities and intense support needs, we have to be thoughtful. We need to make it quite clear that our kids are much-loved and very awesome human beings. We should never, ever state or imply that any challenges we face as a parent are our children’s fault. We need to handle their privacy with delicacy. And we shouldn’t accidentally enable disrespect towards children who are already too-frequent magnets for morbid fascination, and pity.

But we do need to talk, because our parenting gig is not like other parenting gigs. It just isn’t. We, our kids, and our families need different supports than families whose kids don’t have disabilities, and we often need a lot of them. Sometimes we’re not always sure where to find those supports, or even aware of available supports; sometimes we’re ashamed to pursue the supports we and our kids need. And not having the supports we need for the best quality of life possible can lead to unnecessary hardship for everyone involved.

So, let’s talk about what parents like us need, and especially how to get what we need. But first, I need to be forthright on one matter: In no way does lack of services excuse harming our children. Ever. […]

Shannon Des Roches Rosa

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You are right; we cannot make your autistic loved one non-disabled. But we can help make a future that has room for people like your child in it, complete with the rights, the access, and the supports they need to live their fullest life. We think that that is doable. We think that that is right.

Yes, autistic lives are different. Yes, they are often hard. No, they will not look like the lives of non-disabled people.

We just don’t think that that makes disabled lives wrong.

Emily Paige Ballou 

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For seven years, we’ve been drowning. And since autism is synonymous with all things good, acceptable, and neurodiverse in this world, and since all kids with autism are simply wired differently, and since doctors who say otherwise are quacks, and since parents who think otherwise are in denial or worse, we’ve been forced to remain silent about our pain and our reality.

For seven years, the autism label slapped on my son’s medical condition has given doctors a reason to dismiss his suffering, friends a reason to be angered by our failure to show up at important events, and family members a reason to question our sanity and criticize our parenting skills.

My son’s autism label gave us a reason to just shut up. Even in our darkest moments, we reported our family was ‘fine, thanks.’ We trudged forward, shamed into silence. To say we did not accept our son’s assignment to autism as his destiny, that we were searching for a Get Out of Autism Jail Free card, would have been perceived in the same manner as if we were to say we did not love our son. That he was intrinsically bad, and wrong, and not what we had hoped for.

Ashlyn Washington

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