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Yes, I still hate Autism Speaks.

So today Facebook is abuzz. Apparently, Autism Speaks changed their mission statement to look prettier. For those following along at home, I am not a fan of them.  “But Nora!” I hear you cry out. “They no longer are searching for a cure! They’re searching for a SOLUTION.”

I’m here to tell you it’s the same thing. The exact thing. Cure? Solution? They’re different words for the same thing. And you know what that solution is? You know what their so-called awareness is endorsing? Eugenics.  THAT is the cure. THAT is the solution.

It’s all words. Just words. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing more. They can change their words, but until they change more  I’ll still boycott. They still insist we’re merely puzzles to be solved. And we’re NOT puzzles. They still insist that more boys than girls are autistics. We are still burdens. 

To them, autism does not speak. Autism parents speak. When actual autistics speak, we are silenced. We are bullied. We are pushed aside. Our words? Meaningless.

Autism speaks? Until you’re willing to listen to autistic adults, I’m still boycotting you. You know what your spectrum and solutions are? Wanting me and my friends dead. Forcing us into abusive therapies. Telling us the way we are simply isn’t good enough.

You and your supporters aren’t going to change, I suspect, but this is your chance to prove me wrong and you aren’t just words yet AGAIN.

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April may be over

At long last, April is over. Let me relish in those words: April is over! I don’t think that’s sufficient, but that’s okay.

April is over, and that’s such a relief. But on the other hand, it isn’t. Why? Ableism is still rampant. People still hate me. I’m still autistic and I’m still a marginalized class.

You know what else isn’t over? People literally wanting me dead. People literally not wanting me to exist, all in the name of a cure. I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice, I’ll keep saying the damn thing – the cure is eugenics.

As long as I’m on the Internet, people will insist on using functioning labels. High functioning. Low functioning. Mild. Severe. “Your autism isn’t that bad.” “You pass as neurotypical.”

Shut the fuck up.

And I’m going to guess that more people are offended by the fact I just dropped the F bomb than the fact I said that wanting to cure autism is literally wanting to prevent our existence.

April is over. Hooray. But you know what isn’t? Autism Speaks. They still hate us. All of us. Every. Last. One. Of. Us. They still want us to be dead. Yes, dead. They still want us to pass. Even when we cannot.

April is over, but awareness isn’t. Paaaarents are still wailing that we don’t know how hard they have it. That we are not like their child. Breaking news in  at 2:05 am central time: your autistic child will become an autistic adult. There is no such thing as an adult child.

April is over. But I am still cyber-bullied for being autistic. Other autistics are still bullied across the internet – in both autistic and autism (there is a distinction, but that will be a future blog post) communities as well as the neurotypical world. People who self-dx are told they are not valid and that their diagnosis isn’t real (even when it very much is and again, that’s another blog post), people with professional diagnosis are told they’re “not really autistic”. And still others will claim that we’re “all a little autistic.”

April may be over. But I still have to write about what it’s like being an autistic adult. I still have to fight for agency and basic rights that a neurotypical person would get without a second glance. I still have to speak up for injustice. I still have to continue being a social justice cleric. There is no rest. It’s still rampant. It’s not in your face and while EVERYONE may not notice it it’s still there and it still hurts. And you know what? It never stops hurting. It never stop hurting, no matter how many times insults like the R word are flung at me. It still stings.

April may be over, but autistic children and adults are still murdered in cold blood by their caregivers. They’re still abused. They’re still subject to abusive therapies like ABA. They’re still told they’re not good enough, they need to pass, they need to stop doing the thing. It’s still happening. You’re just not aware of it. Or maybe you just don’t care, but I’ll pretend that’s not the case.

I am so glad that April is over, but the oppressions are not. YOU just notice them less. (And by the way, GameStop did not stop supporting Autism Speaks because of a petition or they know their fan base. They stopped because April is over).

Image description: purple background with a yellow circle in the middle. Lighter purple text reads "April may be over, but the aggressions never are."

Image description: purple background with a yellow circle in the middle. Lighter purple text reads “April may be over, but the aggressions never are.”

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Your awareness wants me dead

It’s still April.

It’s still Autism Freakout Month.

I’m still being blasted by blue. I’m still being surrounded by Autism Speaks. Nothing has changed. The same words keep getting thrown back at me.

“I’m not lighting it up blue for Autism Speaks, I’m lighting it up for my son.”
“Blue has always been the colour for autism.” 

Taken directly from the Autism Speaks website: 

“The first question we wanted to ask was – why blue? What does the color blue have to do with the autism spectrum? The answer is that Autism Spectrum Disorders are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252). So, the color blue represents the boys diagnosed with autism.”

Blue has only been the colour for as long as A$ has been around. Before that, it was a really freaky looking of a puzzle head kid. Learn your history before you say things.

“But I want to raise awareness for *insert here*”

And my favorite…

“But isn’t all awareness good?”

No. No it isn’t.

Your awareness wants me dead.

A bit louder for those in the back, and with feeling: your awareness wants me dead. 

You see, they support eugenics.

They and their “fans” justify murder.

They think we are burdens and destroyers of hope.

They are just horrible.

Image is of a brunette female with blue eyes and red glasses. She is wearing a flower crown and a pink pokemon t shirt. I don't know why I'm wearing the crown. It seemed fun.

Image is of a brunette female with blue eyes and red glasses. She is wearing a flower crown and a pink pokemon t shirt. I don’t know why I’m wearing the crown. It seemed fun.

Do you know what the cure for autism is?

The cure is eugenics. 

What? Eugenics? Really.

I’ll say it again, this time with a different link.

The cure is eugenics.

Yes, eugenics.

And the majority  of us don’t want a cure.

Look me in the eye. Tell me that my mother should have aborted me or that I literally shouldn’t exist. Tell me that I’m a burden or that my life isn’t worth living. Oh wait, you already have.

Because by saying your child/grandson/nephew is a burden? You’re saying I am one by proxy. “Oh, you are not like my child” when we were once your child. Contrary to popular belief, autistic children become autistic adults. I know, right?

Look at me in my awesome Pokemon gear and tell me that I don’t deserve to live. That at 28, I shouldn’t still love Pokemon and Sesame Street. Dare you. Even if you don’t say it, I’m sure you’re thinking it.

When you say “but isn’t all awareness good?”, you are supporting Autism Speaks by proxy. By denouncing them and still promoting their Light It Up Blue campaign you are still spewing the hatred that Autism Speaks. Acceptance. Your awareness is useless.   Please accept us. We’re fine as we are.

When you keep repeating over and over “But ALL awareness is good!” you are silencing us when we tell you what Autism Speaks means. What they do to us. What they do to your children. When we cry out and scream for acceptance, we mean accept us as we are. Don’t force us to do things that are painful for us to fit your neurotypical molds.

Your awareness wants me dead.

When an autistic child or an autistic adult who is dependent on a caregiver is murdered, it seems it is mostly fellow autistics who weep and mourn the loss of life. I still cry over every one I read but it’s getting harder and harder to cry. One day, it’ll be so common there will be no tears left. I don’t want that to happen. But what happens when these people are murdered? “SERVICES! SERVICES! SERVICES!” “It’s SO HARD raising an AUTISTIC CHILD!” “Walk in THEIR shoes!” “YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND.”

That is what your awareness screams to me.

When you say people aren’t aware of lower functioning autistics, well, first of all, you should know that functioning labels are a bunch of crap and it’s actually the ones that society insists on deeming low functioning that we hear about than the ones who have learned how to pass in a difficult world. When you say we don’t speak for so-callled low functioning autistics, you’re ignoring the fact that MANY of them do speak for themselves and are happy as they are.

Please stop telling me that all awareness is good.

Please stop telling me that all awareness matters.

Please just stop telling me you aren’t lighting it up blue for Autism Speaks.

Go red instead.

Support Autistic Run places.

Love us and support us as we are.

We’re worth it. I promise.

Please don’t wish me dead.

Thanks.

Neurodiversity Link Up 2017
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I’m fed up with your awareness

I have completely and utterly had it with your awareness. I am absolutely fed up with your so-called awareness and I would love to shove it into a meat grinder. Your awareness has done nothing good for me and it’s time to STOP. I am done with your awareness. I don’t need it anymore, and to be frank, I never needed your awareness.

I am fed up with your puzzle pieces, which have a history before Autism Speaks took them over. Learn our history (I am imperfect myself and am still learning our history. I’m always learning. It’s part of being. Learning is good. Please learn. We cannot change and grow if we don’t grow).

I am sick and tired of your awareness! What good has your awareness done? Nothing. It’s justified the abuse  of Autistic children. It’s used for your bull-hockey functioning labels  It’s used to further silence us. To tell us that we aren’t enough. That we need to try harder. That oh, if we Do The Thing, we can Do The Other Thing that we actually want to do.

I am absolutely fed up with your awareness. I am sick of you lighting it up blue. You aren’t doing a single good thing for me by doing so. In fact, you’re justifying my abuse and my murder. You’re justifying the mistreatment of my Autistic family.

Do I seem angry? Do I seem bitter? That’s kind of my point right now. That’s kind of my purpose. I am angry. I am bitter. I am sick and tired of whenever I criticize Autism Speaks, whenever my friends and fellow advocates & activists speak out of the dangers of them of hearing the same rhetoric over and over. “But isn’t all awareness good?” “But we’re raising awareness!” “We’re all working for the same cause!” “I want to do whatever will help my child.”

Your awareness has achieved nothing. Your awareness is hurting me, not helping me. And do you want to know why I don’t want your awareness? I will spend the entire month of April completely depleted of spoons. I will spend the entire month of April seeing people “lighting it up” for “autism awareness.” I will spend my entire month hearing how AWFUL autism is. What a TRAGEDY my life is. How HAAAAAAARD it is to raise an autistic child. Parents will bully and abuse me. Aspie supremacists  will tell me what an awful person I am as an activist and an advocate.  I will continue to see parents moan and whine about the fact their child will never use their voice box to speak – all while ignoring the fact their child’s voice is speaking to them loud and clear. Day in and day out, with no escape. My feed will be flooded.

Your awareness has only hurt me. How are you helping me? If you want to help advocate for me as a neurotypical, great. But shut up and listen to me when I tell you you’re doing it wrong and quit silencing me. Stop being aware of me and accept me. Stop trying to change me. Stop trying to make me into something I’m not.

And for the love of cheeseburgers, don’t light it up blue or I will crutch whack you.

Image: a beach-y background with the white text that reads "Stop being aware of me and start accepting me."

Image: a beach-y background with the white text that reads “Stop being aware of me and start accepting me.”

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(Part of) the problem with Autism Speaks

This may come as a shock to you, but I don’t like Autism Speaks. Okay , it really isn’t that shocking. I don’t like Autism Speaks. That’s pretty well known and well documented if you know me. And if you don’t, surprise! Now you do.

Why do I have such strong hatred for Autism Speaks?

Autism Speaks doesn’t just want to “cure” autism. They want to eradicate it. They want to eradicate US. They think the world would be better off without us. That we are merely burdens.

They support ABA therapy, which is problematic. Many people think ABA is a good thing, but it is not. 

They think stimming is a bad thing, and use words like ‘quiet hands’.

Above all, Autism Speaks refuses to see the beauty in autism. They refuse to see that we are more than puzzle pieces.

Autism Speaks tells us that we are not worthy. That we would be better off dead. They applaud and lament parents who murder their children because they couldn’t handle the burden… but not a word is spoken of the suffering those children go through.

They think that people who are non verbal have nothing to say. They refuse to learn to communicate in other ways, be it sign language, assisted devices, etc. Not able to speak does not mean nothing to say. Far and far away, no.

They use tactics like Bleach Enemas. Yes, this is true. No, this is not an urban legend.

Autism Speaks hurts. They do not have a single autistic person on their board. They do not speak for us, no, no they do not. They speak in PLACE of us. They speak for what THEY want, not what WE want.

We are not burdens.

And we will not be silent.

You are hurting us, Autism Speaks. We are not voiceless like you think we are. Just because we sometimes get our senses overloaded, just because we sometimes don’t understand social cues, doesn’t mean there is anything WRONG with us. We are the way we are. Don’t change us.

My name is Nora, and I will loudly and vocally oppose Autism Speaks.

Image is one of my favorite pictures of myself, from fall of 2006. I am a female-presenting super pale person. I have long, wavy reddish-brown hair. I am wearing layered shirts in various shades of green, a denim headband, and a pink backpack. I am holding a cup of coffee in front of a display of Playstation 2 Games.

Image is one of my favorite pictures of myself, from fall of 2006. I am a female-presenting super pale person. I have long, wavy reddish-brown hair. I am wearing layered shirts in various shades of green, a denim headband, and a pink backpack. I am holding a cup of coffee in front of a display of Playstation 2 Games.