For Autistics Speaking day, I thought I’d simply collect a selection of quotes from autistic people that I liked.
Thank you for listening.
I like to talk to my friends with autism directly. You can talk directly to somebody with autism. I think many people would prefer to be talked to, than at.
Shane Mizell, Dude, I’m an Aspie
How is referring to oneself as “autistic” reducing your entire identity to that? When I call myself a brunette, am I saying that the only important thing about me is my hair color?
For me, helping ensure, either through direct, hands-on means, like talking to autistic teens and youth, or more bureaucratically, by fighting for equal access for autistic college students, battling eliminationist rhetoric in conversations about autism, and talking about autism with the credo of “nothing about us without us” that these kids get a chance at a better life than I had at their age, is a mitzvah.
For me, the liberation of autistic people from the confines holding them back now is a very Jewish goal. We are all too familiar with the pursuit of freedom from tyranny, and this includes the tyranny of disablism. This is not the only way to view autistic advocacy, but it is one way I look upon it, and it works very well for me.
Autism is not a moral failing. Autistic people have moral failings, but they have them because they are people, not because they are autistic.
Actions are things that people choose to do for a reason and, if a person’s not able to use words describe their feelings and needs and desires, the things they do are a pretty good window into what their feelings and needs and desires might be, and therefore are a form of self-advocacy. When all of a disabled person’s actions are categorized as “behavior” that needs to be changed to look a certain way–instead of as communication–this is the act of taking away someone’s voice.
When you are autistic or otherwise disabled, you know every day that people aren’t listening to you, and certainly aren’t trying to understand you. They are often coming up with reasons to not have to listen to you. We’ve been over all this before-silencing tactics, Not Like My Child, Argument from Tone, Parenting Is Hard, etc. It’s significant. There aren’t enough squares in a Bingo card, and it stops being funny when you get a blackout on 3 different cards in under 5 minutes anyway.
I cannot separate out which parts of me brain are wired because baby I was born this way and which parts of my brain should be marked off as AUTISM. Nor do I particularly care, to be honest. I am Julia, and a significant fraction of Julia is autism (and thus, via the transitive property, I am autism but that’s not the point). Am I a writer because I’m Julia, or because I’m autistic? My writing is good in its own right, I am told, and it’s also fundamentally shaped by my neurology–just like yours. I like Glee and Phineas and Ferb and also Sudoku. Am I allowed to have a personality and preferences, or just perseverations? Is my deeply and inconveniently round-about, pedantic, literal, and analytic way of thinking and using language a sign of a what a profoundly gifted child you were, Julia (and you know, no one ever tells the kids in the gifted programs that they see themselves as gifted first and human second, or that they should call themselves “persons who experience a label of giftedness”) or is it a symptom of some monster hiding in my neurons?