By Heather Clark
Being a writer has been my good fortune in the Autism community. When I began to record our journey here, I did so because I thought that we were traveling in a direction unknown. Most of the parents of Autistic children I first encountered while searching for answers and support followed the belief that their child needed therapies, remedies, and miracle cures. I wanted to walk in love. I wrote that down. I was fortunate because though I felt alone as a parent, the Autistic community started trickling into my life. They were already walking in love. Radical love. They gave me some.
As things went on, I came to understand that Autistic people were in a battle for basic human rights. Sharing the joy and comfort my acceptance has created in the relationship I have with my children was important, but I realized my writing is significant to more than just our family. It allowed me to share parts of the Autistic story. They don’t want therapies, remedies, and miracle cures. Autistics want acceptance. It is their right to be included. It is their right to govern their own bodies, minds, and lives. It is their right as human beings to be treated with respect. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and that means Autistic people too.
The general public is so overwhelmingly afraid of Autism, the acceptance I have learned to give my children is often portrayed as extremist. I do what most parents do. I love my kids. Mine are Autistic and suddenly my love becomes inconceivable. The record I keep here is deemed deviant. Eccentric. Indulgent. I must be mad. But, it’s the distance between the wrong and right, between fear and acceptance, hate and love, that dictates my rebellion. Justice is just too far from reality. Simply asking that my Autistic children’s rights to equality and dignity be honored, makes me an activist.
That disparity, those rights withheld are what put the radical in Autistic love. Imagine giving what has only been denied of you, or, accepting yourself while the world is afraid of who you are. What we offer the disabled is less than they deserve. What we take away is shameful. Refusing to respect Autistics as competent and worthy human beings is our indecency. Each action taken by them to oppose this repression is an act of love. Love for themselves, for their people, and love for those of us so far far behind. Radical love. Get some. I write on.
The preceding essay was written for the annual Autism Positivity Flashblog. The theme 2015 is Acceptance, Love and Self Care. Join the celebration with positive perspectives of Autism on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, & Twitter!