Monday, 1 August 2011

Don't Hate The Autism Either

I don’t normally bother to read the likes of these sorts of websites, they are entirely too much doom and gloom; but I was trying to find out why I had so many links to my blog from Age of Autism (I never did find out, I must have commented on a page somewhere, I certainly doubt I am in their list of ‘fave’ blogs, lol), instead I found this. And I just could not let it go unchallenged. Here is my comment, slightly edited.

“I would say, don't hate the autism either. I can sympathise with parents of severely autistic kids, but i do not think hating the autism will help either them or the child. Firstly, hating anything is a waste of energy, and keeps the parent stuck in the angry, grieving mode. It's hard, yes, but it doesn't have to be a big tragedy thing, not every parent of an autistic child reacts that way.

Secondly, Autism cannot be separated from the child - it's as much a part of them as being (in these instances)male, and (presumably)white and American. It can't be ripped off or out. Being taught to 'hate' their own autism, means sooner or later the child will hate themselves for being autistic. Is that what anyone wants for their kid? It harms the child in the long run. 

Consider this prospect - young adults on the spectrum, who have been taught to despise autism so much, they refuse to identify themselves as autistic, and deny themselves what support and services do exist for them, as a result. Or, they do identify with it, but are so ashamed of being autistic, because they know that it's ‘bad’, so once again they stay away from the places and people that could help them. Or, they are older autistic people who have somehow managed to fumble and bumble their way through life, always knowing they are 'different', and feeling 'lesser than' as a result, but never think to identify themselves AS autistic, because autistic people are 'those loonies and retards over there', not themselves, right?

Short version - please, don't hate the autism either. It's just as harmful, to both parent and child, as hating the kid.”

These, I might add, were not hypothetical scenarios I was talking about. See Rachel’s blog here, where she talks about the plight of young autistic adults who deny their autism. And I myself, like other autistic adults I know, spent many long, lonely, painful years not understanding why I was ‘different’, always feeling inferior to the ‘normal’ people, but never thinking I might be autistic, because of the negative stereotypes we all know of.

Whether the moderator has even let my comment through, I have no idea. Even if she does, there may be lots of negative replies or it will be just ignored or dismissed as ‘another one of those shrill neurodiversity nutters’, perhaps. I can but ‘plant seeds’, hoping that something I say, somewhere, will cause an ‘autism-as-tragedy’ parent, or someone else, to stop and think. And maybe listen, for once, to the ‘real’ experts in autism – the ones who actually live it.


  1. If you want to remain sane it's best to not visit AOA site. I see it linked in news alerts that I get a lot and I have found that it's better to refrain from reading anything from it. They have to be one of the most hateful, negative, dangerous, slanderous, ugly, sites about autism there is. What makes it so dangerous is how many parents visit and agree with their awful misinformation.

  2. Oh, i agree, Quiet Contemplation!! I wouldn't normally read them at all, as i said above. But this one, well, it was just too much. I spent so long hating myself for being 'different', that i just couldn't let it go.
    What also struck me about the site was an awful lot of medical/scientific stuff that would be incomprehensible to most i suspect, but is sufficiently 'scientific-sounding' that it would impress the unwary. And in amongst that, they are still claiming vaccines 'cause' autism, and that Andrew Wakefield is being unfairly maligned. Sigh. It makes you wonder what amount of proof has to be presented, before people wake up. Actually, i suspect none will suffice. It's like it's become a religion with them, and who ever said religion was rational?!?