Often it seems to be that there is an undercurrent that when it comes to autism advocacy that it must be one against the other. It must be the neurotypical parents and relatives, the professional helpers and therapist set against the actually autistics. An undercurrent of standing off or standing against each other. A feature of this is an animosity that sits between the different communities.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It would be better if it wasn’t this way.
I am absolutely committed to advocacy and that to compromise on the essential fact that autistic people should be afforded the same human rights as allistic people enjoy. This is the line in the sand that I draw from which I won’t retreat. Autistic people are human and have the same rights as anyone else. These rights should under no circumstances be compromised. Autistic people should always be encouraged and assisted to self-advocate for themselves wherever this is possible.
Also, if that self-advocacy is not possible and the family of the autistic is unable to advocate in the autistic persons best interests then the ideal is then to have another autistic person advocate on their behalf.
These are the things that could not be compromised because autistic rights really are human rights. They really are, those basic rights that are enjoyed by way of being human. The right to shelter, the right to self-determination, the right freedom from torture and abuse.
Unfortunately so often these are trampled on. One of the reasons this happens is that the different autism/autistic communities fail, refuse and choose not to listen to each other and to hear the perspectives of each of the communities and then judge them in light of the human rights of the autistic person.
I started my journey of advocating for autistic rights with a blog titled Neurotypical No Way at WordPress, I later moved across to self hosting the blog under the same title. This title was clearly provocative, and though this wasn’t an intentionally anti neurotypical title it was easily understood to be so. I later changed the title of the blog to Proud Autistic Living, still provocative, but not obviously anti-neurotypical. The thing was though that my sentiments were very much from a singularly autistic rights perspective. The consideration of the neurotypical viewpoint was generally not considered, or if it was, was very much criticised by me.
My journey in writing and reading and discussing has involved coming to a place where I assert that it is an important thing to consider and value the ideas, theories, beliefs of non autistics. This does not mean they would override or change my opinion about things or that they take any precedence over autistic voices but that they be valued, heard and respected.
During this journey I have certainly made comments and judgement upon non autistics in particular that have been harsh and at times offensive. I am truly sorry that I did this and that my own arrogance held sway and clouded my judgement to such a degree that I made such comments.
My journey has led me to move my blog over here to Never Less Than Everything, to partner with Tricia an autism mom. I am sure there are some that would question why I would make such a move, why would I close off my blog as it was beginning to become successful and move over here and begin all over again.
Prior to moving Tricia and I began to collaborate on our connecting hemispheres videos and a couple of blog entries. It became clear to me that there was the possibility of developing a collaborative voice that did not have to be at odds with itself.
Yes there is certainly going to be ideals and issues where Tricia and myself will be at odds, but, overall, our voices will compliment each other and further the cause of the human rights of autistic people and stand against the silencing, sidelining, subjecting to abusive treatments and therapies that are perpetrated upon autistic people.
Part of this journey has also included being involved with the Autism CRC research group. I attended a research academy with them and will be working as part of a team to produce a project that will be jointly written by autistics and allistics together. This has ben somewhat of an epiphany moment in a sense. The discovery that there are in fact researcher out there that want to value the contributions, in fact work collaboratively with autistic people in a research capacity that is far beyond the simple participation of autistic people as subjects.
I have previously written about the need for unity in my posts, Unity it’s important, Autism it’s not a war. I suppose they serve as signposts along the pathway to here, where I am convinced not only of the need for unity between the differing autism and autistic communities but for the necessity of collaboration between them.
I am unashamedly a proud autistic man, and passionate about advocating for the rights of autistic people.
I add to this a passionate belief that autism professional, autistic and the family of autistics work together, listen and respect each other in order to bring about these rights for autistic people.
After all, that division of parent and autistic is often irrelevant as many of the parents of autistics are, like myself, autistic themselves and so are not just autism moms or autism dads but autistic moms and autistic dads.
It’s time to stop the stand-off. To stop the us versus them idea and stand together, united, committed and ready to endure the uncomfortable process of knocking each others rougher edges off to bring about a better future for autistic people.
It’s a call to action I guess. A call that we all autistics, autism parents, autistic parents, allies and professionals, to stand united and advocate in unison for the rights, the human rights, of autistic people everywhere. To advocate together against harmful and abusive treatments like MMS, GcMaf, Quiet Hands etc.
It’s a call to action to together change the negative narrative of the cure culture and the vaccination brigade. To silence the language of epidemic, catastrophe and holocaust that is declared by conspiracy theorists, anti-vaccinators, presidential hopefuls and autism charities.
I am convinced, absolutely convinced, we can, and I sincerely hope we will, move beyond the one against another and start to walk together.
No it really does not have to be one against the other, it can really be all of us together.