The image is a poster for The Lorax, which will be shown at Studio Movie Grill in Alpharetta, GA this Saturday at 11 am. Children with special needs and their siblings have free admission. Tickets for others cost five dollars. The address is 2280 Holcomb Bridge Rd.
The third article is much like the first. From the opening lines, out-of-date language like “mentally retarded” crop up. Zarembo apparently did so little research he did not realize the phrase is offensive. He suggests that autism is “a sentence of lifelong isolation” in the introduction without caveats or qualifiers.
He does provide background on ABA, science, insurance, schools, and the law to readers unfamiliar with these issues. What he never mentions is their impact on children. Zarembo describes the effect of ABA on public funds, schools, and families, but he never concerns himself with the child’s experience. He ignores hard questions on aversives, whether the intensity of the therapy may prevent natural play, or whether this relentless methodology hurts children. People who received ABA, including verbal adults who can pass, are discussed but never asked what the process was like for them.
Ableist terminology continues throughout. In the section “Selling Success” “wrong” is again used to describe an autistic child’s differences. Disability is described as something from which one “get[s] well,” like disease. Zarembo chooses the language of the medical model, autism as an illness from which one “recovers,” not a set of traits or way of being. In the same section, autism is described as something a child has “beaten,” a term from the cancer lexicon. Medical terminology continues into the next section. The author says ABA allows an autistic child to “get better,” a phrase more commonly associated with infectious disease. In that light, it is unsurprising that the last section refers to a 21 year old autistic man by his first name when all other adults have been introduced by surname so far. Autistic perspectives are still completely absent.
Alan Zarembo points out an important issue for families dealing with autism in his second article: not all have the resources to make navigating systems and services a household-member’s full time job. Children whose parents are under financial stress, work long hours, do not speak English, experience prejudice for other characteristics, or are not adept at handling bureaucrats struggle for fairness in social welfare systems. What Zarembo fails to acknowledge is the reason: when there are not enough resources to go around, people in a position to be assertive will get them. “Waging a small war with gatekeepers” is necessary because Zarembo’s assertion that parents use an autism diagnosis to snatch additional educational resources for children who do not need it are false. An interviewed mother told the reporter she sought services from the state and was turned away. Children whose parents are not in a position to fight slip through the cracks.
Most autistic people in this article are fairly young or not known to be communicative in verbal, but it is disconcerting that the story is still doughnut-shaped. It encircles its central characters without touching them, highlighting the absence of their perspectives.
Ok, so I’ve been able to catch up on what’s been going on today via phone, but I just now hopped on the computer. So here goes.
Most of you know that I’m autistic. I am also a parent of two children who are autistic. Technically, that leaves my husband as the outsider in this group, but whatever….
Wait, spinning a lot is an autistic thing? Like, LITERALLY, half of the home videos of me from age 2 to 10 involve me spinning. I got a frigging hernia in my abs from overdoing it. Yet another massively obvious sign everyone missed.
But, yes, this.
I think so? I don’t know, it was on the checklist of “things to watch for” when looking for autism when we were getting my first child diagnosed um…. 4 ish years ago?
I didn’t get diagnosed until AFTER she did, though, so um… it’s one of those “oh! yeah! hello retrospect being 20/20 vision!”
“Calling out people for their allitistic priviledge isn’t ‘bullying’.
Telling parents to stop appropriating autistic people’s experiences isn’t ‘bullying’.
It’s pointing out that ultimately, autistic people know more about the…
1. “Allistic” is the term the responder intended to use. It means non-autistic and includes people with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, etc. who are excluded by the term “neurotypical.” We are sometimes harsh, but it is not bullying to call someone out on ableism. Bullying is attack for pleasure. Calling out prejudice is self-defense.
2. None of us, except the autistic parents raising autistic children on Tumblr, claim to know that. However, we know more about autism than anyone else. We live it. You cannot. Parents have the valid, valuable perspective on parenting. We have the valid, valuable perspective on autism.
3. This tag has “autism” written on it. We are autistic. It belongs to us. You can come here, but this is our space. If you choose to say bad things about us, we will be angry. Parents, professionals, and everyone else got fair warning a month ago that we claim this turf. You have a right to rant. If you do not want someone to respond in anger, exercise it elsewhere.
4. Some are not warriors. A world where everyone went around looking for moral struggles would be vile. We spend much of our lives scrambling to survive and meet our needs. If one of us grows up, builds a life, and never touches our caustic politics again, she deserves a hard-won peace. Not all people, on or off the spectrum, belong in activism. Diversity is healthy in any population. The idea that one is a bad person for being born into a minority group and not wanting to be an activist, social justice by birth, is as ridiculous as monarchy, rule by birth.
5. Thank you for not bullying. Not many here do. We have strongly-held opinions. Debate is uncivil because these are emotional issues. It is a personal mission of mine to keep the tag polite, but it is difficult when children are hurt. What parents who criticize us often ignore is our reason for arguing: we care about autistic children. Even the most devoted parent can be misguided. No one is attacking for sport. We cannot know any person we have never met. Why should labels of high or low functioning come into it? One is never qualified to speak for strangers. However, when we know a practice is damaging, we say so out of the desire to protect someone else from what we endured.
6. By “work with” we mean “be tolerant.” It is good if a child grows up able to look normal enough to get a job in a prejudiced world. It is bad if that child thinks all behaviors, thoughts, and actions that are natural to him or her are evil, shameful, even in private. We want the goal to be a future of happiness and well being, not normality. We want parents to look at what happiness means to their children, not themselves. The two are often different. That is where well-meaning parents run into trouble.
I do not use person-first language around autism because I am not a person with autism. I am autistic. Autism is a label society gave some of my personality traits. It is inseparable from who I am. It effects everything I do. Also, the responder might be British. They do the language of disability differently.
parents of autistic children want a space to talk about how miserable they are because they have autistic children.
they want a space to display their bigotry and ableism and not get told how shitty they are for doing so.
we’ve seen first hand how damaging this is= parents and siblings abusing…
It never ceases to amaze me how oversensitive people can be, & how personally they will take something a total stranger wrote about their own life when it has nothing to do with them nor could they ever fully understand it.
Well, I have been there done…
To the OP:
I understand your predicament. All of us, especially autistic people, want this place to stay civil. Wrong Planet turned into a snake pit. No one wants that happening again. It must be hard to feel so judged. Keep in mind that we get angry out of concern for your child. We see ourselves in autistic kids. Bad things happened to us. We want them to have it better. Going further, I can only speak for myself. My experience made me a haunted person. Nothing upsets me more than seeing the same happen to someone else. Some of what we went through could be avoidable for your child if you heed our advice.
Parents need to rant sometimes, whoever their children are. Occasional exhaustion is natural, especially at this busy time of year. However, it is unwise of you to use this space to vent about the difficulties of raising an autistic child here unless you want negative feedback. Many of us have been treated as problems all our lives. We are tired of hearing it.
if you, a parent of an autistic person, do something ableist against autistic people, the autistic people who call you out are not oversensitive and are not judging you without knowing you.crocodile tears=we do not want them.
Oh, and also, um, I posted this yesterday in a similar vein:
“Well, of course, not,” said the young man, “because you can understand why a parent would want to hit a disabled child.”
I was stunned.
He continued, “You raise normal kids, you feed disabled ones.”
I was playing a farmers’ market early yesterday afternoon when two small children approached. The boy was like a lot of kids I see, fascinated by the big, shiny, unexpected thing that had turned up to play strange music. I understand. Rotary valves would have enchanted me at that age. He hung around for a while, dancing when he could find the beat.
The girl spent my impromptu performance gazing at me with the long stare of a wolf. Her smile was like the one I use when I want someone to back away slowly. While she seemed to approve of my playing, wolf-child’s affect was unnerving paired with the rows of braids some loving adult spent hours working up and her tiny sweatshirt of pale pink fleece. In my mind’s eye, I could see her plus seven or eight years, already rattling windows with a massive BBb. Given half an opportunity, you will make a tuba player, I thought.