There is nothing more disrespectful and dismissive than a conversation about autistic people going on
Without our input.
Having autistic friends,
Having a conversation about autism with an autistic person,
Being a professional,
Writing a book,
Running a seminar,
Is not enough.
Autistic people are to be active, ongoing participants
In the discussions about who we are,
Why we do the things we do,
What’s good for us.
I would never speak about another person whose identity is not mine in a conversation in real time.
But I see it and hear it every single day about autistic people.
Words like “symptoms” to describe who we are,
Ideas like “they need to build resilience”,
Reaffirm one thing.
based on the outer expression, the behaviour, the byproduct of who we are.
A good ally does not speak for us.
You listen to us and stand behind us,
As our support.
Replace autism with any other identity or culture
And just imagine for a minute
Speaking for a culture that isn’t yours,
That you don’t belong to.
Autism is my culture.
Not my medical diagnosis.
It is central to my being.
How I think, feel, receive my world, connect to my environment, sleep, eat, move and dream.
Autistic people are people;
Stand behind us,
Not in front of us.
Nothing about us,