I haven’t felt like blogging lately. I’m busy. Emma is no longer going to school and we have a number of exciting projects we’re working on, in addition to the ones she is working on solo. We are covering all the subjects any school would cover, only we are doing it according to what Emma is most interested in. So instead of saying, this month we will read _________, we say, “Here are some books I thought might be interesting, do any of these interest you?” And then if they don’t we keep looking, asking and seeing what clicks.
At the moment we are reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (thank you K.), we’ll begin pre-algebra in another month or so, are studying ancient civilizations beginning with our earliest known ancestor (thank you Mom), learning about chemistry (thank you Dr. C), have a variety of craft projects, writing projects, music projects, and that doesn’t even begin to cover all the other things that come up in any given day.
In addition to all of that, German (Emma’s very specific and insistent request) is coming along nicely though we are very much beginners, so all you German speakers, please do not start commenting in German and expect a response, unless it’s something like – Meine Tochter trinkt Apfelsaft, aber ich will Wasser, bitte. Yeah, I just wrote that…. like a BOSS! You have no idea how proud I am of that sentence, particularly as two months ago I couldn’t have put more than three of those words together. And even though this was Emma’s idea, I’m (obviously) enjoying myself enormously. (Oh you have no idea!)
But the point of this post was not to itemize the topics we are learning about or to show off my German (!), but instead was to say, yes, we are busy and so that makes blogging more difficult to get to, but the bigger point, the point I was thinking of when I sat down to write this evening, is this: I don’t have to blog if I don’t want to. I can just stop blogging. In fact, if I felt like it, I could say – I don’t feel like doing this anymore and that would be the end of it. But my daughter doesn’t get to just stop and walk away from her neurology and how that is perceived by the majority of people out there.
So here I am, because this is about countering all the negativity that abounds when it comes to autism. There is stigma and prejudice and yes, oppression and people saying and doing all kinds of things to Autistic people that are horrifying and appalling and the vast majority of people in this world see nothing wrong with that. We have to stand up and say, no. This isn’t right. People are being beaten down, literally, beaten, threatened, murdered and it’s not okay. It isn’t. Our children are growing up in a world where autism is synonymous with all kinds of awful ideas and beliefs that hurt them.
Autistic people are being shouted down, ignored, trampled on, gas-lighted, abused, treated with contempt and some fear for their lives. Non-speaking Autistic people are routinely treated as though they are incapable of thought and if they type, they are faced with suspicion, doubt and ridicule. Speaking Autistic people are presumed incapable of understanding others, or believed to be using their neurology to get away with something. If they speak out in anger they are told they are being unreasonable and that this is yet another example of their neurology. I’ve seen non autistic people accuse Autistic people of being unable to understand the nuances of an argument because they didn’t like what the Autistic person said. One woman wrote to an Autistic friend, “Oh, you’re autistic, now I understand why you said that awful thing about that poor woman.” Seriously. WTF?
The intolerance some non-autistic people show those who are not like them is staggering and horrifying. The prejudice that is out in the world is rampant and everywhere. So as busy as I am, as much as I don’t feel like blogging these days, my daughter doesn’t get to take the day off. She doesn’t get to say – I don’t feel like being treated badly or differently or as though I’m not capable of understanding. I don’t really feel like hearing what that rude person just said about me right in front of me. She has no choice. And that’s what this post is about. Some of us have a choice and others do not.
My daughter does not.