Dear “Autism Parents,” We Don’t Want To Be Cured

There’s a worrying trend among parents and carers of autistic children: trying to cure autism. Be it through training autistic children like dogs, sending them to special schools to be “controlled,” by donating money to organisations like Autism Speaks (widely held to be a hate group by autistic adults) in the hopes that their research can find a “cure” for autism, or even through drinking bleach (seriously)- a large number of “autism parents” want to see the end of autism. If you’re unfamiliar with the autistic community then you may ask why this is a problem: what’s wrong with wanting to cure autism?

Everything. Everything is wrong with wanting to cure autism.

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Autism is not a disease, it’s not a sickness, and the vast majority of autistic people do not want to be “cured.” Autism is a huge part of us, and removing it would radically change us as human beings. When you talk about “curing” autism, you are talking about eugenics. You are not helping us, you are not supporting us, and you are certainly not listening to us.

We don’t want to be changed, we don’t want bleach enemas, hug therapy, or to be treated like we’re dogs to be trained to your standards. We want to be listened to. We want to be accepted. We want to live in a world where people don’t see us as burdens that need to be eradicated so that “normal” people can have easier lives. We are not a public health crisis that needs to be stamped out; we’re human beings with – believe it or not – real emotions and thoughts of our own and everything.

Last night, I saw the admin of a Facebook page post a status attacking people who said that autism does not need to be cured. The admin, Gina Crosley-Corcoran (AKA “The Feminist Breeder”), has a son who was recently diagnosed as autistic. She said that autism should be “cured,” and went on to ignore nearly 2,000 comments from dozens of autistic people explaining that they didn’t want to a cure, and then explained to them that they were wrong and why they should want to be cured. It was pointed out to The Feminist Breeder that it’s not acceptable for men to belittle or ignore a woman’s opinions on misogyny, or to sit there and mansplain to them why they’re wrong, so why she can’t see the parallels between that and what she was doing is beyond me, unless she thinks our opinions are worth less than neurotypical people’s. Parents of autistic children and the neurotypical community at large need to understand that this kind of thing is incredibly harmful to us.

Autism Speaks doesn't speak for me

Another example is Autism Speaks: one of the largest autistic charities in the world which has raised millions of dollars. You may think it’s a great thing that so much money has been raised for an autistic charity, but it’s not. Autism Speaks, despite its name, has no autistic people speaking for it. It has no autistic people on its board of directors or anywhere in its decision-making team. Autism Speaks, and its celebrity supporters like “autism mom” Jenny McCarthy, believe in finding a cure for autism, despite the vast majority the autistic community telling them that they don’t want a cure.

Not only does Autism Speaks completely ignore autistic people, but it also dehumanises and demonises us in its advertising campaigns. On top of that, only 4% of the money AS raises goes to helping families of autistic people, and none goes directly to autistic people. One fifth goes on advertising and a further fifth go on fundraising, whilst 44% goes on research to try and find a cure that most autistic people don’t want and have never asked for. 

Why is that one of the largest, if not the largest, autistic charities in the US has no autistic people speaking for it? Why is it that the charity so many autism parents choose to give money to a charity that ignores their childrens opinions and needs?

Say no to Autism Speaks

If you want your autistic children to grow up and be happy, then you need to start listening to them, and to the autistic community as well. When you ignore autistic adults and our opinions, you are adding to the system of oppression that your child is going to face for the rest of their life. When you ignore what your child wants and needs, you are belittling their opinions and emotions and lowering their self-esteem.

When autistic people have been telling you for years and years that you’re wrong and that you’re hurting us, when thousands of autistic have been injured and dozens have been accidentally killed by their teachers who were trying to subdue them, and when dozens of autistic children are murdered by their parents every year because they’re seen as less-than-human, then you need to look at yourselves and ask what you’re doing to the autistic community, what you’re doing to your own children.

Autism is not some horrible condition that will mean that your child will never be happy. In my experience, the worst thing about being autistic is having to live in a world where autistic people’s needs are ignored. Your children are growing up in a world where 1 in 3 young autistic people have never been employed or gone to university 7 years after graduating from school. Your children are growing up in a world where 4/5 of autistic people have reported verbal hate crimes and nearly half said they’d experienced physical ones. Your children are growing up in a world where when autistic children are murdered by their parents, the parents are the ones that people feel sorry for and defend. And instead of trying to change the world and making it a more accepting place for autistic people, you are trying to take away the very thing that makes your children who they are.

Getting rid of autism isn’t the answer to making autistic people happy: getting rid of the bigotry, discrimination, and oppression that we face is, so please start listening to us and it may one day help your own children.

NB: this isn’t aimed at all parents of autistic children, it’s aimed at the rather large proportion of them who think that autism needs to be cured, as well as other neurotypical people who hold the same view. There are many wonderful, supportive parents of autistic children. I should also say that I do not speak for the entire autistic community.

 

Ferrari prank proves all 3.5 billion women are exactly the same (apparently).

All 3.5 billion women on planet Earth only care about money, according to Elite Daily, anyway.

The site posted a video made by the Youtube channel “TrueStoryASA,” in which four men go around Las Vegas getting women to take a ride with them in a Ferrari.

The men go up to random women and ask them to show them around the city, to which the women refuse. The women change their mind after they’re offered the prospect of driving around the city in the brand new Ferrari.

Apparently, this means that women are all gold-diggers who will do anything to be with a rich guy. It obviously has nothing to do with the fact that people like nice cars, because thinking like that wouldn’t allow people to slut-shame women.

What a lovely shirt. Copyright VitalyzedTV

The video is similar to one posted a few weeks ago, in which a man in a horrible shirt, which would turn almost anyone off, asks a woman to go out to dinner with the (not-at-all-creepy) opening line, “Hey, cutie.” That video produced equally misogynistic comments about how women were all “dumb sluts who only care about money,” whilst failing to acknowledge that the man asked the woman out solely on her appearance (which is obviously much better than being attracted to someone because of their car); and the fact that women face street harassment from creepy guys all the bloody time, so turning the guy down is more than understandable.

Answer honestly: if some random guy came up to you out of the blue and asked you to show him around where you live, would you do it? Do you think you’d be more likely to show him around if you got the chance to show him around in a Ferrari?

The guys in the video didn’t ask the women if they wanted to go out with them, they asked them to show them around, so there’s not even any reason to believe that the women got in the car in the hopes of starting a relationship with the men. In fact, if you did this experiment targeting a group of men, you’d probably get similar results, because the prospect of driving around in a Ferrari is an attractive one to lots of people.

I wonder how many women they had to edit out, too, because the chances of all the women they asked agreeing to go out with them are pretty small. But, selective editing makes it far easier to portray women as “gold-digging sluts” than honesty does.