Just finished reading again, this book. I want to share this first, because it’s important to mark the passage of time and the progress made, however slow it seems. I think it’s especially appropriate as April rushes upward like the Dawn to meet us. The world is changing, acceptance is growing.
We cannot allow our voices to be silenced, drowned out by angry, autism warrior martyr mommies who fantasize about killing their babies, placing them in unimaginable, horrific, abusive situations all in the name of ‘progress’.
For as long as I can remember, Autistic people have had to approach the month of April with an almost existential dread. The start of April meant an outpouring of autism awareness rhetoric heralding Autistic people as eternal children, diseased, broken, empty, and imprisoned, putting our families through unimaginable suffering and single-handedly creating the greatest public health crisis of our time. More devastating than AIDS, more expensive than cancer, and more common than diabetes: if your child stacked blocks or didn’t make eye contact, it was the end of the world. Parents talked about their desire to kill their Autistic child while the child played at their feet. Other parents watched this and then actually did. Awareness kills. But a new day is dawning. Some of us have survived to adulthood, and more and more, we’re making our voices heard. We aren’t tragedies. We aren’t victims, and we aren’t monsters, and we aren’t going anywhere. We are family members, friends, community members, employees, students, and fellow citizens. We can speak for ourselves, and we have things to say. We’re Autistic. And we have a right to live in this world. Awareness kills, but acceptance can change everything.
And Straight on Till Morning: Essays on Autism Acceptance, by Julia Bascom.