A response to the request that Autistics blog on this concept

When thinking about this, I kept on coming up with things that the rest of the world should do,  to let us live our lives (relatively) unmolested and happily.    That made this piece very hard to write.  Originally my ideas were:

...be presumed competent

...be heard

...be permitted to speak

You get the idea. 

 Mulling this over while driving around on my errands (Oh yes - I drive - have been doing it since about 1977) I came up with a summary that works for me.

Autistic people should....work to be included in society and the world, doing whatever it takes to achieve that end.

I admit, I come at this from a shameless Civil Rights background.  I   was involved in Disability Rights, long before being correctly labeled, in the 70s. I come at this from a minority viewpoint, as a Jew who has generally declined to operate by "passing" and has been excluded for that.  I come at this as a person whose archetype is the kid in "The Emperor's New Clothes, " unafraid to mention that the Emperor is buck naked.  That has resulted in exclusion from professions - and an "ignore me at your peril" award, developed especially for me, from a community organization whose opinion matters to me far more.

 I have fought long and hard to survive (Yes, I have done so, undrugged, in opposition to the efforts of Psych-Witch-Doctors),  and to give my kids (Yes, I have kids - 4 of whom are adults in their own rights and all of whom had some sort of label implying or stating spectrum from childhood) every opportunity to find their passions and meet their potential, whatever that might be.  And at times ,  as now, that has required far more patience than I seem to have been dealt.

I have made mistakes.  I  am far from perfect.   But given some of the ridiculous auto-completions inherent in search engines, I believe I have done pretty well, despite the best efforts of society to render my life null and void.  I am that dreaded personage, a financially struggling Aspie With A Mortgage, working to build a living as an Artist.

At the tail end of my sixth decade, the more I think on survival and attaining  potential, the more convinced I am that we cannot waste time reinventing a thing to stick onto the end of an axle.  As a people (Yes, we are a people, with an evolving culture different from the norm) we must, in the words of one whom some have retroactively claimed to have been one of us, all hang together to avoid hanging separately.  We must take stock of our strengths, learn about the  opposition (for lack of a clearer term) and use strengths to overcome adversity.  We must accommodate our OWN differences, if we wish to see others accommodate our differences from them - leading by example.

People say we perseverate.  Maybe this is not such a bad thing.  It can keep us focused on our human rights.  It can help us persevere despite frustration and roadblocks.  It can,in the case of those who have "strong interests" (G-d I hate that term - without the label such a thing is merely an area of expertise)  in history, social sciences, law or human rights, provide our movement with sources of expertise .  As my esteemed colleague and partner has been known to "joke"  there needs to be an outfit, Aspie Research Incorporated: "We look it up so you don't have to !"  ANd we can use those skills and desires to the benefit of the community.

People say we lack tact and social skills.  I prefer to see that as willingness to speak truth to power.   In order to change the world, one must both see it as it is with all its warts, and have a vision of the world as one wishes it to be.   This has been true of all movements for human rights, from religious rights of all kinds in all places, nationalist movements, women's suffrage movements, through Native, Asian-Pacific Islander,  and African American Rights,  and General Disability Rights, through Gay Rights, on up to Arab Spring.

People say we cannot communicate.  But action is communication.  And action as communication is the frontier.   We need to take a leaf from the book of nonviolent protest movements, maybe several.   Especially with the stigma of violent stereotypes of  spectrum folk blooming throughout main stream media.    We can communicate by educating about what is, and is not, inclusion.  We can communicate by sharing , however we do that best, our thoughts, our feelings, our accomplishments.  We can communicate by  "speaking out" (and I use that term in its broadest sense) against injustice, pain, exclusion, stereotyping, profiling, and abuse.  What we cannot do is to stay silent, with our voices, keyboards, or bodies, for then it is too easy for those in power  to discount our very being and deny us our humanity.

 


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