Monday, April 28, 2014
Do not tell a Disabled person that they should not consider their Disability in thought, integrate their Disability into their identity or let it define them.
The truth: a person's relationship with their Disability is complex and complicated and very personal. It is for that person alone to direct and experience. Like any relationship, it may not be all good or all bad, but it is constant, and forcing them to ignore it is like forcing them to ignore their gender or their cultural background.
I do not pretend that my Disability is not there or that it does not affect me in concrete ways.
I do not look past my Autism or do things despite my Autism, and I don't treat my personhood as separate from and ahead of my Autism, because Autism is a part of my personhood.
I embrace all of myself, with all the unique challenges that I face, strengths that I have and idiosyncratic neurological processes that I experience as an Autistic.
I am a person. I am simultaneously an Autistic. I am an Autistic person.
Unlike and like any other person. Both alike and disalike to any other Autistic.
Just as Maya Angelou is hailed as an independent and powerful woman, I regard and welcome myself as a confident and powerful Autistic.
You could attempt to define my personhood without saying "Autism." You could describe me as intelligent, gentle, talkative and strong-willed...
...and you would still be describing me as Autistic.
You could describe me as kind, forgiving, forgetful, naive, loyal, impatient and creative.
And you would still be describing me as Autistic.
I recently had a teacher warn me not to become a "victim" of my Disability. This is my answer to that myopic but well-intentioned trope:
I am not a victim of my Disability.
My Disability is a friend of mine.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
I posted this on Facebook last month at Facebook.com/AutisticChick
Now I am posting it as a blog.
In this post, I address three common myths. I have attempted to make this post succinct, comprehensive and simple to understand.
There should be no validity assigned to the ableist assumptions that Aspie voices are not real/valid Autistic voices, or that FC is not real/valid typing.
However, since these views are so widely held and seem to be a barrier to people assigning any validity to the neurodiversity perspective, let me address a few misconceptions about the neurodiversity movement.
1. "All self-advocates and neurodiversity advocates have Aspergers or HFA, or are verbal or independent."
The fact that "independence" and "functioning level" are vague, nonlinear and subjective aside, this is not true. There are a number of neurodiversity advocates who are nonverbal/nonspeaking or who have been labelled low-functioning.
2. "All nonverbal neurodiversity advocates use FC."
Again, this is not true. Henry Miles Frost, Emma Zurcher Long and Emma Studer are three examples of nonverbal/low verbal Autistic people who are able to type independently or using methods other than FC.
3. "FC is the facilitator speaking, not the nonverbal person."
Here is a link to an interview with Amy Sequenzia that addresses this. I recommend that you read it all the way through.http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2012/11/interview-amy-sequenzia-on-facilitated.html
Now. That being said.
Stop invalidating our voices.