Autism Suckfest 2012 Continues: Call for Bloggers, an Autistic Mom Responds, and Jo Keeps Digging
Suck it, ableist bigotry! (Click image to see larger)
This continues the list of thoughts I started here.
11. I had a great talk with a really nice person (whose name I'm not sure I have right so I'm not going to say it) at the Orange County Register, who was very responsive to my objections to the way that they have been publishing Jo Ashline's columns on autism. There were two very significant things that she said.
The first was, "I didn't realize she was talking to people with autism." That's important because it shows that she was, after talking with me for quite a while, able to really see autistic people as people. And the fact that it took us a while to get there, and for her to realize that, is both something that should make her proud, and something that makes me sad because it makes me realize how far we still have to go.
The second was that she asked me what I thought would make the situation right. And she was interested in exploring my suggestion, which is this: the Register should find an autistic blogger, or bloggers, who can give a counterweight to Ashline's perspective. She offered me a chance to write something for them, but it's a local publication. I think they need local voices.
So-- if you are an autistic writer who lives near Orange County, California-- please contact me or go directly to the Register itself. If you know someone who lives in that area who you think would do a good job with this-- please encourage her or him to submit something. It could make a real difference.
12. Autistic mother Sara posted this on the thAutcast Facebook page, and on Ashline's blog. I got her permission to post it here as well:
I am an AUTISTIC mom.
Married to an AUTISTIC man. Whose siblings, mother, and maternal grandmother are AUTISTIC. And they weren't as high functioning as I was when I was a kid; they were raised in small town Ohio, with no interventive services, no sophistication of diagnosis, nothing like that. So, like Einstein (another autistic late bloomer) my husband and brothers got called the "R" word a lot, including by their teachers, although in one brother in law's case, he does indeed have an intellectual disability, which is IMO the primary handicap, with autism merely complicating matters.
My AUTISTIC husband and I have four AUTISTIC daughters, some more high functioning than others. So you see, we're not just self absorbed aspies who have "fake autism" and who can't possibly understand the real trauma autism moms go through or the need for a cure, to FIGHT THE ENEMY THAT IS DESTROYING CHILDREN'S BRAINS IN A TERRIFYING EPIDEMIC.
We're offended. Gee, I bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?
We don't care to tell autism to "suck it." We'd rather work with our odd neurological wiring, give our children therapy to help them do the same and gain independence, and trust that we're autistic for a reason, because that's how we were made, and G-d does not make junk. Yeah, the fact that I'm saying "born autistic" means I'm not on the "brain damage from evil toxins" bandwagon. Bet you didn't see that coming, either.
Anyway, my husband and I wouldn't tell autism to "suck it." We save those sorts of fighting words for bigots.
13. Ashline herself hones in on the B-word in her response to criticism from other autistic people and myself: From Proud Mom to Bigot. She continues to expand the textbook she is apparently working on about how to bully autism people.
I was really sad when my friend made a joke that could be interpreted as a threat, because I knew that Ashline and her buddies would use that as an excuse not to pay any attention to any of the actual, substantive things other autistic people were saying.
From twelve years in public school as a student and fifteen as a teacher, I promise you that this is one of the most typical and most effective ways that mean girls use to marginalize boys with poor social skills: taunt and tease and be nasty, until they do something that you can call aggressive or threatening. Then turn crying to your friends and the teacher for sympathy. I have seen it literally hundreds of times with 13-year-olds. It's just as obvious, and just as ugly, when grown women do it. And in Autismland, they do it every day.
14. She pays attention to only one of the ten bullet points I wrote about her column. It was the shortest, so probably the only one she actually read. Certainly, it was the only one she could twist to fit her own absurd point of view that the autistic people objecting to her cruelty are the real bullies.
15. There is nothing I find more hurtful or insulting than when people tell me I should be grateful for my ability to read or write, because they think those things mean I cannot have any real disabilities. They usually do this from a perch of wealth and privilege ("What on earth am I going to with this marimba?") that makes me wonder if they have ever known what it is like to spend months of your life in wracking pain and years without necessary medication because you have no health insurance, or to watch your beloved pets die because you cannot afford to pay any more vet bills and also eat. Or what it's like to have years of experience and an advanced degree but be unable to find more than marginal employment because you're just too odd and it's sort of scary. That's the fun and glamor of my life. I sincerely hope Ashline wants more for her son than that.