Let’s set a scene. Pro-neurodiversity parent decides to “change the script” and posts “Tell us about all of the amazing things your little one does! Let’s show everyone how amazing autistic kids are!” Responses range from cute, funny stories to deep reflections on how children’s’ identities teach others around them, etc. I have participated, even, particularly to share something cute my child did or something I love about her. I have been thinking more about this, thanks to some gentle guidance from friends and a deeper understanding of neurodiversity. These gestures-while well-intentioned-are something we need to look at more closely. By entering into this dialogue, aren’t we conceding that acceptance is earned? Must we “prove” autistic kids are special/magical/amazing to merit support? What if your child is utterly average in every way? Would that change how much we should support and care for them?
I think we need to step out of the “proving” stage. No amount of endearing narratives will convince people that all people are deserving of love, support, and acceptance. When we talk about new paradigms, we need to act from that understanding as a given. While we can brag about our children, as all parents do, when we do so to counter ableism, we are attempting to prove our children are deserving. ALL people deserve these things, and Autistic people don’t deserve them because they earn them through magical attributes, but because they are people.
We will be blogging more about this, but for right now, these questions are important:
- Is this post asking for “proof” of humanity?
- Are we crafting support on contingent on how useful, cute, bright, etc. kids are?
- Am I assuming worthiness of love, support and acceptance?