To get some of the background for this post, please read this post by my friend K first.
I am a disabled, autistic adult. So, I know what it’s like to be a disabled, autistic child. Apparently that means that my opinion matters nothing. Apparently, because I can speak and live on my own, I am not like their child. Well guess what? I am your child.
When will our shoes matter? You keep telling me I haven’t walked in your shoes. That I don’t know what it’s like. But do YOU know what it’s like?
Do I need to throw my shoes at you for you to understand? Do you know what it’s like to literally have your words trapped inside you and instead of being actual words they are pictures, feelings, colours, and sounds inside you that you just can’t pull out and articulate? Do you know what it’s like to have misophonia and literally scream in pain at certain sounds? Do you bite yourself because you don’t know how to express yourself otherwise or to bring you back from a place you don’t want to be?
You tell me to walk in your shoes. That I’m a burden and that I don’t know what it’s like. All the while splashing out details of your child’s life – what could be MY LIFE – because “parents thank you for it”. Because “my child will never know.” Newsflash: Your child WILL know. Your child DOES know. Your child deserves dignity, too.
When will my shoes matter?
The shoes that walked away from abusive situations.
The shoes that pounded volleyballs for an escape.
The shoes that danced and leapt across the room.
The shoes that walk out of the doctor’s office with another DX.
The shoes that fight for my basic rights and dignity.
Why are your shoes the only shoes that matter, parents? You say you don’t know what it’s like to raise a kid like me. Do you know what it’s like to be me?
I cry when you post graphic descriptions of your child’s most vulnerable moments. I scream when you post a video of your child melting down. I tremble when you mock your child.
When will our shoes matter?
When will you say enough is enough? If I throw them at you, will you accept the invitation to walk in them? Will you accept the challenge?
Or does the challenge only exist for me?