This post was written when I was in a bit of a rage, and contains swearing. Apologies in advance for that, but not for anything else in this post.
For the past year and a half, I have blogged under the alias “Jungle” on my two blogs African Jungle and Autism Jungle. After what happened on Friday, no more. I will continue to use the monikers when posting, but from now on I will sign them off with my real name, which is Julian Frost.
As you know from reading this blog, November 1st was Autistics’ Speaking Day. Some people don’t like the idea of autistic adults speaking out. Some parents of autistic children (definitely a minority) especially don’t like it. In fact, I was involved in a row on Left Brain Right Brain.
Harold L Doherty complained that Autism Self-Advocates are typically high-functioning and thus not representative of his son. In response, I pointed out that suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr and disability advocate Douglas Bader couldn’t be regarded as typical of their groups, but that didn’t stop them from advocating. MJ from Autism Jabberwocky then chimed in. After first showing that he didn’t understand the concept of analogies, MJ then made a totally outrageous claim.
“So, no, when you advocate, you do not advocate on behalf of what my children need. What you do is minimize and marginalize them – especially when you compare their disability to something like women’s rights.”
Did MJ just say that my speaking out doesn’t allow his son’s voice to be heard? Yes, he did!
That is the most ludicrous, preposterous and offensive false dichotomy I have heard in my entire life! How on earth does my exercising my right to advocate deny your son his voice?! It doesn’t, and your claim is horseshit! Funnily enough, right before I saw your comments, I’d read a post “Autism’s Berlin Wall“, about how some parents of autistics disregard and try to shut down the voices of autistic adults. And you were doing the exact same thing to me!
I wish to say something to parents of autistic children who doubt that what we do helps. In under 18 years from now, your autistic children will be autistic adults, unless there is some huge breakthrough in research (not likely). ABA and other interventions may help them cope, but they will always be autistic. If I, Corina, Kathryn, Matt and the rest of the crew of Autistics’ Speaking Day continue to press for changes, then when your sons and daughters are adults, they will have it better than we did. Their odds of gainful employment and full integration into society will increase. On the other hand, if, as some wish, we fall silent, then the pressure on society to accommodate us will decrease, and they will find it harder than they would had we spoken up.
Lastly, a personal note to MJ of Autism Jabberwocky.
Your insulting attempt to guilt me into keeping quiet has backfired. I will speak out until the day I draw my last breath. In fact, from now on I intend to be even louder than I was before. Don’t ever try to silence me again. It will not work.
I will NEVER shut up!