Monday, 1 April 2013

Educating People About Autism

I find it hateful when people state untrue facts about autism.
I find it hateful when people spew fallacies about the etiology of autism.
I find it hateful when people talk about "curing" autism.
I find it hateful when people say disrespectful things about Autistics.
Sometimes, it feels like there are two camps of people: those who think autism is a terrible thing and those who appreciate it as an amazing gift.  The first category of people, people who tend to act hatefully towards Autistics like myself, are oftentimes the people who spread false statements and create fear in the hearts and minds of people who don't know anything about autism.
Language around autism is such a convoluted mine-field and not something I feel comfortable discussing.  The dialogue among Autistics and allies and families and professionals is one thing.  When those ignorant to autism join the conversation, things become even more complicated.
What I do know is that these conversations are important.  We need to talk about autism.  And we need to invite all people to the conversation.  Everyone's beliefs and opinions will be different, but that is all right.  We need to share our knowledge.  Autistics need to speak.  Friends and families of Autistics need to speak.  The professionals who work with Autistics need to speak.  Everyone needs to be involved in the discussion.
It is really important that autism stop being the proverbial "elephant in the room" and become something we are comfortable talking about.  Because nothing is going to change unless we step up and share our expertise.  People will state untrue facts, people will spew fallacies, people will talk about "cures," and people will be disrespectful.  People will do all these things because they don't know any better.  It is our responsibility to impart our wisdom to these people so that there is less hate directed toward our community.