Protect autistic life…
Being Âû means that I embrace the protection of all autistic life and those who would sacrifice to protect it. The very first time I read this statement I recall thinking to myself, what the hell, is this even a thing?
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that yes it really is a thing. An, unfortunately, big and common thing. It manifests in multiple ways. There are those that claim they are doing therapy that autistics need protection from. Purveyors of snake oil need to be kept away. Undertrained police and emergency services personnel. Education providers, even so-called special-education trained providers at times need to be stopped from the damage that is done to autistic human people.
Every year there are multiple accounts of autistic people being killed or attempted to be killed by a range of people in the community. A recent example is a situation where the carer of an autistic man attempting to calm his autistic client was shot by police, the police claimed they were sorry, it was an accident. As they were actually aiming for the autistic man. The fact that the carer communicated with the police that the man was not a threat and was not armed and that he was holding a toy car seemed irrelevant to the police. You know, it’s okay it was just an autistic we tried to kill. Read the story here.
Then there’s the case of the Autistic child in an Australian school put in a cage. Yes, you did read correctly a fucking cage. They. Put. A. Vulnerable. Child. In. A. Cage. This particular situation came to light around a year ago, it is current in the media again as the United Nations is investigating it and a string of other similar situations in Australian Schools.
It’s not all this sensational, though…
Autistic humans need protection every day and every moment. This is both for the children and the adults. The proliferation of pseudo-science and so-called treatments to ‘cure’ or ‘recover’ autistic children and adults makes quite a list.
- Special diets
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers
- Fecal Transplants
To name some of the more commonly known ones.
And then the therapies…
Then there is the go-to therapies, the supposed evidence based saviours for families. ABA, being the prime culprit, but yet there is more, such as the Son-Rise program. There are others much more benign too like social-skills training and play-based therapy.
I won’t go into my issues with these therapies here as that deserves it’s own treatment, however, suffice it to say that inherent in all is the eradication of autistic behaviours and the “normalising” of the autistic human person.
Thankfully there are many protectors of autistics out there. Protectors who are autistic and protectors who are allistic. I embrace them all. I am privileged to call some friends, others who are not. But embrace them all I do.
People like Fiona O’Leary, Emma Dalmayne, Joanne Dacombe, John Greally, Briannon Lee, Amy Sequenza, Tina Richardson, Jeanette Purkis, Ari Neeman, Steve Silberman.
I honour them all. I thank them all. They protect me, they protect my kids. They sacrifice their own reputations and safety for the protection of those they will never meet because they believe in the inherent value of every human person.
Not just making up the numbers.
When it comes to the list of the 10 points of Âû this one is not just making up the numbers. It is in fact perhaps one of the most critical items on this list. In my view, if you can’t fully support and embrace this item you have no business wearing the Âû.
Fundamentally, the importance of this item is, in my thinking, directly linked with the narrative and public discourse around autism. For as long as the peak organisation like Autism Speaks and its ilk continue to describe autism as a blight on society, as needing to be cured, as stealing away children and destroying families the need for protection of autistic will continue to be important and imperative. For as long as the media continues to jump on the latest bandwagon of autism cures and treatments, for as long as the latest mass shooter is able to be labelled as maybe autistic. As long as all these things continue then the protection of autistics will be needed.
A brave new world…
I long for the day when this point in the list of Âû is no longer needed. It would be a brave new world where it was a given that I as an autistic did not face discrimination for being so, when I as an autistic did not have to fight for accommodations when I as an autistic could compete on a level playing field for employment.
I long for that brave new world, but until then I embrace those who would sacrifice to protect all Autistic life.