When “advocacy” isn’t

A word of advice for those who wish to advocate for groups they are not members of: before saying or doing anything, first talk extensively to members of that group. Failure to do this can result in “advocacy” that is useless or even harmful. Examples include the misguided Communication Shutdown in support of autistics, and in a recent article I saw on the Health24 section of the News24 website.
The article was about how to teach your child how to talk to a disabled person. It seemed to give quite sound advice. But then it recommended person first language. Concerned, I scrolled down. There was a grid of what to say to people. And sure enough, it recommended saying “person with autism”, and not “autistic person”.
I was annoyed and exasperated. The majority of us prefer to say “I am autistic” and not “I have autism”. This is a textbook example of what happens when people assume instead of checking. When it came to autism, the article recommended the exact opposite of what it should have.
I was sufficiently unhappy to upload an article to MyNews24 outlining my objections to the article. I uploaded it on Wednesday. It is Saturday now, I have just checked News24, and my letter still isn’t up.
If you would speak for us, first listen to us.


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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