I am an autistic woman, non-speaking and I have many needs. I cannot be left alone and I need constant care. Before I was able to type my thoughts, I used to have epic meltdowns. I was treated badly by teachers and some caregivers; a doctor said that I did not have human dignity.
I am the autistic you insist on calling “severe”, “trapped”, “a burden”.
I am the autistic you mention in you reports as part of a group of people with a “bleak future”.
You love to pity me and you fall for the messages of organizations that make a lot of money by spreading myths and misconceptions about me. You do that without questioning these organizations and how they use all the money they collect in fundraisers. And you continue to do that because of your partiality and because these organizations are successful in recruiting many celebrities. And you love celebrities more than you love facts.
You love talking about me but you don’t want me to be part of the conversation.
You never invite me, you devalue me and worse, you “understand” a killer’s “motive” when I am murdered. You give killers airtime or a forum and you forget about me, as if my life isn’t, never was, worth living.
I am the autistic you love to pity until I am murdered. Then you forget about me and about my dreams.
I will list for you, dear mainstream media, what I’ve been accomplishing. I am the former “head banger” autistic; I am the autistic you say will forever be a “child”; I am the autistic still having meltdowns and making loud noises; I am the autistic once considered intellectually disabled; I am the one people called “retarded”.
But if you were doing a proper job, you would know that not only I am communicating, I am the autistic writing books and documentaries; I am the autistic starring in my own movies; I am the autistic presenting in conferences; I am the autistic attending college and graduating; I might be pursuing Masters degrees.
Yes, dear mainstream media, I am the autistic supposedly too “low-functioning” to deserve to be heard. You pity me and you ignore the facts.
You are also biased and uninformed, dear mainstream media. If I seem to be the opposite of what you call “low-functioning”, if I am more independent, if I seem to have no trouble going to college and work, if I can move around without help, you assume I must be just “quirky”, not “autistic enough”, “weird”, “foreign”.
You love talking about me but you don’t want me as part of the conversation.
I also am the autistic that gets overwhelmed by the environment because of sensory issues; I am the autistic who needs breaks and time alone to be able to recover. You label me a loner; I have difficulties keeping up with group conversations and you say I am anti-social; if I have special interests, and if I am really good at it, you call me “weird”, a geek (as if being a geek is a bad thing).
But you can make things really hard when you blame me for “a number of cases” of terrible killings.
I am the autistic you say could become a mass murderer; I am the autistic you like to single out for possible criminal acts.
You ignore that I am at more risk of being abused than a neurotypical person; you ignore that a mass murderer can be anyone and will more likely be a neurotypical.
Mainstream media, your facts are wrong, your assumptions are biased. You hurt me but you refuse to meet me.
So, please, do not use me to try to justify evil. Next time you mention me, contact me first and get the facts. This is your job.
About the author, Ollibean Think Tank Member Amy Sequenzia
Amy we should be heard
My internet journey has just begun and a couple days ago I got into an argument with the parent of 3 ASD girls (apparently non-verbal, I think) and I know I can articulate my experiences with ASD and how I feel about a “cure” (and behavioral therapies I have witnessed – including explaining for a less-verbal friend why some of those therapies were making it harder for him to cope) and I remember last night when I wrote on my blog wondering where the ones like you were… Thank you for sharing here and I look forward to reading more of your posts! We are strong, we are worthy, and we are capable.