So people, on planet internet, in those little countries Twitter and Facebook this happened because this and a whole lot of this (which linkage wise is time sensitive) happened. This caused a whole lot of people without autism and disabilities to debate about what it means to be people with autism and disabilities, whilst completely disregarding what people with disabilities and autism had to say on the subject. There was an enjoyable convo to be witnessed in which magical cures were spoken about and a non-autistic person said that autistic people can’t honestly say that they wouldn’t like to become neurotypical because they’ve never been neurotypical and the obverse of this: a non-autistic with no experience of autism not seeing that if you flip and reverse their statement it, shows you what bollocks it is. Another commenter stated that there was a problem with normalising autism, yeah, ok, because treating autistic people as ABNORMAL has never caused a single fucking problem right?!
Now, I can only speak as someone who was an elective mute until 10 who ticks a fair few ASD boxes, but hasn’t gone through the diagnostic process, and as a disabled woman, and mother of el Minkey, the extremely awesome and autistic fruit of my loins, so I’m totally prep’d for getting it wrong, and accepting what autistic people tell me because, you know, they know their shit. Little dude is still awake so whilst reading all this cure McGubbins I asked him that if a cure should ever crop up (which IMHO is dangerous linguistic territory in itself because it’s pathologizing the autistic brain) would he want to take it. Now my little guy had to leave school in Year 3 because a) teachers couldn’t get him to do anything and b) kids were bullying the shit out of him, he has serious issues with learning which really piss him off, BUT my son replied with an affirmative no. Why? Because he likes being single minded. He LOVES that he knows more than any other kid he’s met about dinosaurs. He even
likes adores his sensory diet. I think he even quite enjoys his echolalia, though hates his stutter. Of course he doesn’t like all of it. The sensory issues are a serious issue, and of course he would really like not to have problems learning, but most of the shit that comes from being autistic doesn’t come from him, or come from me. Most of the shit comes from society. To quote Sartre “hell is other people”. As with my disability, I am disabled not by my body but this unbending society that says that I have to fit in with them, and that if I can’t then fuck it, that’s just something that I have to deal with. This is a neurotypical, non-disabled world folks, and though it can change and we can’t somehow the emphasis keeps getting put on us. Is that some serious fucking kind of bullshit or is that just my imagination?
When Minkey man was born he would SCREAM constantly day in, night out and round we go again. He didn’t like to be put down. We couldn’t even do co-sleeping, he had to be in a person’s arms. Now in hindsight I’m thinking that was an early indicator of his sensory issues. He didn’t develop in the average way, he didn’t crawl, he didn’t look me in the eye, he screamed if you tried to rock him, or hold him up, or tickle him, he didn’t cuddle me, he hated kisses, he didn’t speak on time, then when he did for the first time he counted from 1-10. Then when his speech was in full swing he spoke in film and television quotes and forced them, awkwardly, to bend into situations, and at other times roared like a dinosaur (for quite a while he was rather convinced that he was part dino-his rationalisation for his difference). He obsessed over singular things (dinosaurs mainly-from 24 months to present day), He loved feeling everything fluffy, ripping the shit out of stuff and would punch you if you wore spots. Every texture going was his to behold, and that included his poop. On one occasion, at the age of 4, he sat on the beach merrily swapping his shit for sand. It was only after a few minutes that we realised he was removing something from his nappy. On which point, we just could NOT get him to adjust to potty training. He also is the most loving, funny, fascinating person out there. He can crack you up, he can make you cry with his ability for compassion. Yes he doesn’t get empathy, but when he does get that something people go through is bad his love bucket is limitless. He bows when he sees people, and he kisses your hand as he does so (it was in a film, looked good, tadah!). Sometimes he’s heartbreaking: when I see what makes him suffer (normally that pesky society thing) I want to make it better so much it physically hurts. Sometimes my jaw drops with something he’s retained because it interested him. He’s 10 years old and gave me a lecture on nucleic acid last week! These are just a few examples of Minkey from birth to present day.
So, in response to the Feminist Breeder’s “When your child is diagnosed with Autism…”, when my child was diagnosed with Autism, fuck all changed. He continued to be who he is, what he is, the person he is. If you’re a parent waiting through the diagnostic process and someone at the end tells you that your kid has autism, chill, it’s the same as yesterday. Feel relief that you’ve got that bit of paper that opens the door to (some/limited) support, but don’t stress. Nothing happened.