Ken Brusic

Telling Autism to Suck It-- 10 Thoughts


In response to this:

I told autism to SUCK IT. Yeah. I said it.

1.  I am breaking my own rule by writing critically about something that someone has posted on her own personal blog, and I want to explain why I have that rule and why I am breaking it. 

I think having autism or an autistic child is very hard.  Too hard to be polite and careful with your words all the time.  Sometimes you get to be rude.  Sometimes you get to be insensitive.  Sometimes, you get to be just plain angry in ways that other people will read as hurtful. 

And you do not deserve to be attacked for those things.  I do those things, because I could not get all of things I need to say to you out if I did not.  And I would not deserve to make space for myself to act like that if I denied others the same.

Things change, though, when someone chooses to feature your words.  If an autistic blogger writes something really venomous and hurtful about parents, and I publish it here, I think it is fair to criticize me, but not her.  She would be expressing herself, through autism, in the ways that she needed to.  I would be holding up a too-angry, necessary-but-flawed communication as something to be admired and imitated. 

And the same holds true with the words of our own that we choose to feature.  When I repost something or put it on a list like this, it's fair to criticize me if it is something that is too angry or not respectful enough of others.  It's not the writing that would be the problem -- it would be the choice to make it representative of myself or, worse yet, of the autistic community.

Jo Ashline published the piece linked to above at the Orange County Register's Mom Blog.  I found it so offensive that I called to complain, and it was immediately taken down-- apparently because this slang use of the word "suck" violates the Register's editorial standards, not because of offensive content.  I believe this, because Ashline has written very offensively about autism before.  Had this not been published there, as a representation of the autism community to the public at large, I would consider it fair venting from an exhausted mom.  But, even though it is no longer on the Register's site, I think it is "fair game" because it was published there,  the OC Mom's Facebook page still links to it on Ashline's site, and Ashline doubled down on the offensive aspects of the piece in another post at the Register.


2.  We had a very good conversation about this piece on the thAutcast Facebook page today, and I strongly suggest that you check it out.  I'd like to share what teenager Jeremy Venhuizen said:

"My Asperger's IS me, and sometimes it's a challenge in the world around me but, it's not like I'm dying from it."

Click here to continue.

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