Civility Ought to Go Further Than Autism is the Enemy

Liane Kupferberg Carter writes at Huffington Post today that folks in the autism community ought to be civil to each other. After all, "We aren't the enemies. Autism is."

My response over there:

As long as people conceive of autism as an entity to be at war with, we've got a long way to go in gaining autism acceptance.

There is little doubt that individuals on the spectrum face huge challenges and obstacles, that they deal with very real impairments, but some of the biggest impairments involve society's stance that they are defective, diseased or damaged. (edited for spelling)

My fight is not with autism. My children's fight is not with autism, either. Their fight is to overcome the obstacles that society places in their way. Where compassion and acceptance are abundant, they thrive and blossom; they gain and grow like other children do. Yes, it takes a little longer, and they have more issues, but they can and do live productive, valuable lives, regardless of their functional levels.

Compassion would go a long way, as would redefining what we value as a society.

My question, your child grows into adulthood, identifies him or herself intimately with his/her autism: it is a fundamental part of his/her identity. Said child reads your words viewing autism as an enemy to be fought. How will that not read as a fundamental rejection of the person?

Acceptance. Appreciation. Accommodation.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


storkdok said...

*Stands up and cheers*

Brava, brava, brava!

kathleen said...

Well said-ditto!

Sadderbutwisergirl said...

Imagine how much progress would be made if at least half of the "autism parents" out there came to this realization.

KWombles said...

LianeKC wrote:"Yes, for people functioning at the higher end of the spectrum, autism can be an integral part of their personality. But for parents of children who are severely affected and will never lead independent lives, autism does feel like an enemy."

I responded: I'm the mother of a 20 year old who is severely affected and never going to live an independent life, as well as mother to two younger daughters who are also on the spectrum. No, it may feel that way for some parents facing that, but you are making a huge leap, and an unjustifiable one, to assert that other parents in the same situation feel that autism is the enemy. Perhaps if you restricted it to YOU personally find it an enemy and explain why, then you'd be taking ownership of your experience and not projecting it onto other parents who are in similar situations.

Sullivan said...

It is amazing how people can respond to a post about healing divisions with "But they are shiny Aspies" comments.

The first step is to stop that division. There is a reason why Asperger syndrome and autistic disorder are in the same category. There is a reason why these false divisions are going away.

Alexander Cheezem said...


And agreed on most of the comments, too.