Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network

We Cannot Stop

That was something I typed during a discussion on activism, how difficult it is to be heard, and if we are seeing any changes in people’s attitudes, if some people are listening.

We cannot stop.

Yes, it is hard work.

Yes, we are often ignored.

Yes we do see some changes.

Little changes, welcome changes.

I am, of course, talking about Autism and disability rights activism.

We cannot stop.

Parents abuse their Autistic sons. They treat the young men like no living being should be treated.

Immediately, one of the largest newspapers in the country publishes an article about how “everyone” should try to understand that parenting Autistics – that might look a lot like me – and not having access to services, can force them to face the “least bad” decision.

Abuse is bad. There is no “least bad” approach.

The victims are blamed for their own abuse.

Disabled victims are blamed for their own abuse.

Lack of services becomes the justification for our dehumanization.

We cannot stop.

And we don’t.

Lei Wiley-Mydske writes:

“As both a parent to an autistic child and an autistic adult, I am horrified by The Post’s inability to even entertain the humanity of autistic people. Locking up children in their homes is abuse. It is not a “least bad” decision. If those children were typically developing, would we even be defending the parents? 

Autistic people have the same rights as anyone else. The fact that I needed to type that sentence in 2014 is incredibly disturbing to me. 

When your reaction to this type of abuse is to defend abusers and not victims, something is wrong with you. When we defend abusers of disabled people, we make it easier for such abuse to happen again. I don’t care how difficult it is to put up with me, I do not deserve to be locked in a basement without any of my basic needs being met. That is torture, not a “least bad” decision.

I can’t think of one situation where abusive treatment would be justified. 

Where is the empathy for us? The Post seems to be missing that a lot of the time.” 

I don’t care how difficult it is to put up with me, I do not deserve to be locked in a basement without any of my basic needs being met. That is torture, not a “least bad” decision”

Zoe Gross, Autistic activist, writes: 

“We should talk about supports that families need. We should talk about it when there are cuts. We should talk about it when lack of services makes it difficult for us to work, to go out in the community, to perform ADLs, etc. We should talk about supports and services until our faces turn blue – but NOT in connection to murders. 

When someone kills their disabled child/children and our response is “this shows that we need more services,” we as a community are taking people with disabilities hostage. The implicit threat is “give us more help or the kids die.” Saying that parents are forced to kill their children by lack of services also destigmatizes child murder and excuses the parents’ actions. The truth is that plenty of parents raise children with disabilities under all kinds of circumstances, without killing or abusing them. 

Service provision is so so very important but we CANNOT use child killing as a launching platform for advocacy on this issue. It will do more harm than good.”

“When someone kills their disabled child/children and our response is ‘this shows that we need more services’, we as a community are taking people with disabilities hostage. The implicit threat is ‘give us more help or the kids die.’”

I will not be a hostage.

A young kid is left in the attic, and dies alone.

He was disabled and for days he is not even missed.

We cannot stop.

The “most reliable” newspaper in the country publishes an article based on faulty research, and sometimes blatant misleading assertions about what being Autistic means.

The article disregards our identity, tells false tales of cure, uses offensive language and concludes that all Autistics should strive to look as non-autistic as possible, even if this causes our lives to be stripped of joy, or if this might cause trauma later in our lives. It implies that we should make the non-autistics comfortable with our existence.

We cannot stop.

And we don’t.

ASAN Statement:

Autistic people do not “recover” and the idea of “recovery” has been profoundly damaging to the Autistic community, encouraging service providers to emphasize normalcy above other more meaningful goals.” 

Autistic people and our families deserve better than this irresponsible, appalling article. The struggles of print media and various unchecked opinions regarding autism do not justify accounts of autism that perpetuate problems like quiet hands and warrior parenting.” –Steven Kapp

We will not stop because the media does not want to listen.

The same newspaper that ignores our right to be ourselves publishes a series of editorials, overwhelming the readers, about how marijuana should be legalized.

I don’t really care about pot, but the editor’s explanation for such a blitz was this:

The chance to make a societal difference provided adequate justification [for the editorial blitz]”

“Societal difference”

We cannot stop.

Not until the fight for our human and civil rights is seen as more important than the right of Americans to use recreational drugs.

We cannot stop

Not until the media learns what making a societal difference means.

We cannot stop.

And we don’t, because organizations that purport to advocate for Autistics and disabled people have yet to join us in outrage against such media reports driving the conversation. So far, they have been silent. So far, only organizations run by Autistics and disabled people (and the true allies that support us) have spoken against the disregard for the lives of disabled and Autistic people.

We cannot stop.

* Steven Kapp link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/steven-kapp/response-to-the-kids-who-beat-autism-article/10102518600606025 

* ASAN link: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2013/01/asan-statement-on-fein-study-on-autism-and-recovery


 

"We Cannot Stop" by Amy SequenziaAbout the Author, Amy Sequenzia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “We Cannot Stop”

  1. Thanks for this eloquent post, Amy. So many derogatory, dehumanizing news stories out there about autism, it’s always inspiring when autistics push back, share thoughts and stories like this one, thanks again.

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