So. Look. I am, in fact, Autistic. I am qualified to speak about Rosie O’Donnell’s inappropriate, unwarranted, and frankly disgusting speculation about Barron Trump’s neurotype.
First of all. This is a child. He is not fair game just because his father is destroying people’s lives. Leave actual kids alone. They didn’t ask for this.
Second. It is not okay for a non-Autistic person to speculate that someone might be Autistic, especially in public.
Let me add some nuance to this. If you’re a parent or educator who suspects your child/student might be Autistic, the thing to do is respectfully and discreetly address that by going through the right channels, not broadcast your thoughts all over the world. Because kids know what’s up. Even Autistic kids. I know. I was one.
But armchair diagnoses based on sketchy understanding and stereotypes are bullshit. I don’t care if you have Autistic kids or not.
Third. Autism is not an epidemic. It is not a curse, tragedy, or disease. Autistic people are effing awesome. I know. I am one. We do not need more high-profile kids to be Autistic for people to pay more attention to Autism. What we need is for more people to pay attention to the Autistic people who are out here fighting misinformation, stereotypes, anti-Autistic bigotry, and the harm done because people keep telling each other Autistic people are tragedies.
Fourth. If you actually care about Autistic people:
- Boycott Autism $peaks. They don’t care about us, and we know it. They are, in fact, an anti-Autistic hate group. You don’t get to argue with Autistic ppl about this.
- Demand that the Judge Rotenberg Center is shut down. It is notorious for ongoing crimes, including violence and torture, against Autistic people, especially people of color.
- Denounce ABA. Autistic survivors of that “therapy” still deal with the trauma. Learn about its history and origins, which are linked to those of conversion therapy. Believe Autistic people.
- Find and pay attention to actual Autistic activists, who are doing the work daily to make Autistic people’s lives better. Yes, even your kid who is definitely not like us even though we were just like your kid when we were kids.
- Find ways to support Autistic people in your community. And I mean support. Ask us what we need. Let us take the lead on our own liberation and justice.
- Stop trying to fix us and make us non-Autistic.
- Presume that we are competent.
- Understand that we are complex individuals, not cookie-cutter stereotypes.
- If you have Autistic kids, seek out Autistic adults and groups that value our input, because WE GET AUTISTIC KIDS.
- Stop talking about what burdens your Autistic kids are. As I said before, Autistic people do, in fact, know what you think of us.
- Stop acting like you’re a hero because you love someone who’s Autistic or were once nice to an Autistic person. You’re not a hero. That’s decency.
- If you need support while caring for an Autistic person, ASK FOR IT. It does exist.
- Stop excusing people who murder us because you believe our lives are less meaningful.
- Stop calling yourself an “autism parent.” You’re not parenting autism, you’re parenting an Autistic child.
- Stop trying to get attention by publicly broadcasting Autistic children’s struggles to cope with a world that is not built for people like us.
- If you’re not Autistic, you do not get to argue with an Autistic person about the language we use to identify ourselves. Stop correcting us when we use ID-first language. Respect our language preferences.
- Value Autistic lives. All Autistic lives. We aren’t all little rich white cishet USian boys. We are Black, NBPoC, Indigenous, LBTQIA+, Poor, Imprisoned, Speaking, Non-Speaking, Immigrants, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, Women, Non-binary, and so many other things, too. All of our lives have worth.