No, I will NEVER shut up!

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!

About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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6 Responses to No, I will NEVER shut up!

  1. autismjungle says:

    Addendum: MJ left a comment on Left Brain Right Brain explaining his reasoning. I have responded, showing that he is incorrect.

  2. MJ says:

    You certainly have the right to advocate for yourself. BUT when you compare the struggles that my children (daughters, by the way) have to something like a civil rights movement you completely miss the point of what they need. Their problems have almost nothing to do with how society views them and almost everything to do with the limitations that are imposed on them by their autism.

  3. autismjungle says:

    Like I pointed out over at Left Brain Right Brain, I can ask for changes to the education system and I can ask Apple to give iPods and iPads to autistic people at a discount.
    Just because society can’t solve all your daughters’ problems, it doesn’t mean that society can do nothing about them. In most cases we can’t make paraplegics walk again, but we can help them by introducing wheelchair ramps and stairlifts (that’s an analogy, btw). In the same way, I can advocate for things to make it better.
    As I said above, in under 18 years time your two autistic daughters are going to be autistic women. That is, barring several major breakthroughs in research. If I and others like me fight for changes, their lives will be easier than if we didn’t.
    If you want your two daughters to become neurotypical, that’s fine. However, it’s not likely to happen. Their (and my) best hope is for society to change to accommodate them.

    • MJ says:

      OK, what exactly do you think that an IPad will do to help? It isn’t that great as an AAC device and it isn’t practical to carry around because it breaks easily. Some of the apps are nice but I haven’t seen any app on the IPad that does something that you can’t do equally well (or better) by other means. And actually what I have seen a number of children (mine included) do is turn them into a stim pad.

      And what exact changes to the education system do you think are required? The education system already has somewhat decent facilities in place (depending on your location) but, in general, has a hard time with the almost unique needs of every child on the spectrum.

      I have three daughters with autism (two of them identical twins) and each of them has their own unique needs and require their own unique supports. Some of the time their needs are in agreement but other times their needs are in direct conflict with each other. For example, one of the twins likes to have a lot of background noise and functions better when it is louder. But her identical sister can’t stand the noise and gets agitated if it is too loud.

      How can society be expected to know and accommodate the unique set of needs of each person with autism? There is no practical way to do that even for the simple case of sensory needs let alone with more complex things like behaviors.

      As I said before, I think it is great that you advocate for your needs and I will be thrilled if my children get to the point where the worst of their problems are social. If and when that happens, I will be right there with you advocating for the social acceptance that they need. But what I won’t do is forget that, for many people with autism, autism is much more than a social disability.

      “Their (and my) best hope is for society to change to accommodate them.”

      The sad fact of the matter is my children’s only hope for anything even approaching a normal life is to lose most of their autism or learn how to function in spite of it. If they don’t, chances are that they won’t ever be able to take care of themselves let alone live independently or hold down a job.

  4. autismjungle says:

    I am closing this comment thread as I will have a new post up on this shortly.

  5. Pingback: Happy belated blogoversary to me | autismjungle

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