Tuesday, March 29, 2016

'Not Like My Child'?

Okay, so those of us in the autistic community see that phrase, 'not like my child', on a near daily basis. Not only is it dismissive of any opinions we may express over our experiences with being autistic but it's mind blowingly absurd anyway. I'm a 43 year old woman. I'm 'not like' anyone's child, autistic or neurotypical.

But that's not what this little rant is about anyway. It's the assumption that my 5 year old child must not be 'like their child' simply because I talk about 'acceptance' instead of pissing and moaning about hating my life.

Parenting is hard - full stop. Don't tell me I don't understand and then list off all the areas where your child struggles or needs supports in an attempt to make them sound as 'bad' as possible. Newsflash - I could say all the same things about my child but I don't. I don't because she is a human being who doesn't deserve to have her difficulties spread all over the internet so her parents can get sympathy and attention from strangers. I don't because she is all kinds of adorable and funny and awesome and that's what we embrace and wish to share. I don't because so many of the things listed as being so horrible don't strike me as being a big deal anyway. It amazes me that the supports we offer young children in the toileting or safety departments suddenly become something to cry to strangers on the internet about when it's an older autistic child/adult involved.

If people put the energy into appreciating their child's strengths that they do into lamenting their child's weaknesses we wouldn't need to keep having this awareness/acceptance debate. We are human beings. We deserve acceptance and not the negative 'awareness' that is constantly being spread about us. When you are demonizing your autistic child for internet sympathy you are demonizing ALL of us and, yes, we take that personally.

*image description: caption with red background reads - 'I need your acceptance much more than I need autism awareness' alongside a photo of a smiling blond haired 3 year old girl who happens to be my incredibly adorable daughter.

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