You say that I need to be cured. I can’t help but wonder how something that’s such a big part of who I am is seen as a disease in need of a cure.
You say that I’m diseased and unhealthy. I challenge you to a foot race through the hiking trail.
You say that you don’t hate me; you just hate my autism. I inquire, “Do you not realize that autism is a part of who I am, rather than an entity I own, or an entity that owns me?”
You say that I need to stop being so sensitive. I remind you that my senses and feelings are fine-tuned, and if yours were as fine-tuned as mine, you wouldn’t be able to help being sensitive.
You say that I don’t look autistic. I explain that autism doesn’t have a distinct look, and it can wear many faces.
You say that the bullying I faced in childhood was good for me. I show you the scars on my heart, some of which are still bleeding, and I ask, “How is this doing me any good?”
You say that when I’m having a meltdown, I’m being naughty. I tell you that I’m curious as to why a behavior that I can’t control is viewed as bad behavior in need of discipline.
You say that I’m incapable of being a working member of civilization. I list the things I’ve already accomplished in 21 years of life: winning a scholarship for my writing in the school newsletter, making it into the Vet Tech program at my college, and I volunteer at my local animal shelter.
You say that I lack empathy. Must it be pointed out that if you have these ableist views, and are willing to spit them right into the face of an autist, then are you not the one who lacks empathy?
You say that I should listen to autism experts. I let you know that I’m one of the real experts on autism, and politely ask you to listen to me.
You say that I can’t advocate for myself because my “disability” renders me incapable of doing so. I ask, “Am I not advocating for myself right now?”
Happy Autistic Pride Day!