September 16, 2013

Autism Mom Vs. Autistic Mom

I've been doing a whole lot of reading lately and a lot of it is written by Autistic self-advocates. Some of it isn't really a revelation to me, being Autistic myself and all - and even without officially knowing my diagnosis until recently, I was already sensitive to certain things and had my own ideas about how I would raise my child. But other stuff I hadn't thought about - the language I was using and how.

I also have a special viewpoint (thought not unique seeing how Autism often runs in families) being both an Autistic mom and so-called Autism Mom (I'm not really sure about that term, so I'll have to think about it a bit more). But it's already easy to see very striking opposing viewpoints.

On the Autistic adult side, they write with a lot of anger, and for good reason, but it's still very raw and caustic (and triggering and hard to read at times). A lot of us have been abused by our own parents for being different...or just because our parents were abusive a-holes. A lot of us have been abused/bullied by peers, teachers, educators, counsellors - people trusted with our care. A lot of us have been harassed/bullied/excluded by society at large. So it's understandable there's a lot of anger. I get that. I've lived that. But I don't tend to use this particular blog to air that stuff. A lot of that stuff has been worked out through copious amounts of therapy and lots of writing and crying. That's not what this blog is for.

On the other side of the spectrum, no pun intended, are moms and dads who are neurotypical, but have Autistic kids. Some are doing a great job (and they should be acknowledged) and others are a complete mess, perpetuating abuse. I have issues with people looking for "cures" (there is no cure for Autism, unless you have a brain transplant and those aren't successful). There is no prevention other than abort your child or kill it. Or, hey, here's a crazy idea - if you want a "perfect" kid, you probably are having kids for the wrong reason and shouldn't.

I've written many times about acceptance. I stand in stark contrast to the "Autism Moms" for my refusal to do ABA or other "behaviour modification" training/enforcing/experimental abuse on my son. I don't force him to look at me; no one listens with their eyes, his ears work just fine. He is not broken. He is not to be "cured" because then I wouldn't have my son. But there's a lot of outside pressure because there's a whole lot of money to be made with these private companies who provide these services and prey on scared parents.

I get disgusted with NT parents saying things like (real quote), "I'm so happy I had a second child. She turned out fine and it was proof for me that my body is capable of making something normal." Fer real, girl?! And you posted that publicly for everyone to see and you have no shame? Shit like that just amazes me.

So I straddle these two worlds and it can be awkward. Over time, as I get more comfortable in my own skin concerning my new diagnosis, I think it will be easier to just be me.

All I really want for my son is to be happy. What I also really want is for him to have it easier than I did. I hope the world has changed a lot since I was a kid, but I'm still aware it hasn't changed enough yet. I want him to work on his weaknesses within reason, and not force him into something he's not. I want him to work hard on his talents and be the best he can be at whatever he's best at. I'm not so concerned on the how, or the when.

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