Article from the perspective of someone on the autism spectrum.
Specifically about autism, but also emphasises a general rule – that’s it’s vital to listen to communities and let them make decisions for themselves, rather than dictating to them.
‘a large number of “autism parents” want to see the end of autism. If you’re unfamiliar with the autistic community then you may ask why this is a problem: what’s wrong with wanting to cure autism?
‘Everything. Everything is wrong with wanting to cure autism.
‘Autism is not a disease, it’s not a sickness, and the vast majority of autistic people do not want to be “cured.” Autism is a huge part of us, and removing it would radically change us as human beings. When you talk about “curing” autism, you are talking about eugenics. You are not helping us, you are not supporting us, and you are certainly not listening to us.
‘We don’t want to be changed, we don’t want bleach enemas, hug therapy, or to be treated like we’re dogs to be trained to your standards. We want to be listened to. We want to be accepted. We want to live in a world where people don’t see us as burdens that need to be eradicated so that “normal” people can have easier lives. We are not a public health crisis that needs to be stamped out; we’re human beings with – believe it or not – real emotions and thoughts of our own and everything.
‘Autism is not some horrible condition that will mean that your child will never be happy. In my experience, the worst thing about being autistic is having to live in a world where autistic people’s needs are ignored. Your children are growing up in a world where 1 in 3 young autistic people have never been employed or gone to university 7 years after graduating from school. Your children are growing up in a world where 4/5 of autistic people have reported verbal hate crimes and nearly half said they’d experienced physical ones. Your children are growing up in a world where when autistic children are murdered by their parents, the parents are the ones that people feel sorry for and defend. And instead of trying to change the world and making it a more accepting place for autistic people, you are trying to take away the very thing that makes your children who they are.
‘Getting rid of autism isn’t the answer to making autistic people happy: getting rid of the bigotry, discrimination, and oppression that we face is, so please start listening to us and it may one day help your own children.’