H and I listened to some parts of the Congressional Hearings on Thursday, November 29, 2012.
He was easily upset by listening to what was being said by some members of the US Congress. For that matter – so was I. Hearing words like ‘burden’ mindlessly thrown about by those in power was more than disheartening.
My kid can hear! My kid can read!
Those carelessly tossing about such language don’t seem to realize that those words might as well have been rocks aimed at my child. That is the way with words sometimes – they may drift quickly into someones past – but I was there to witness first hand the impact on my child… and I know that these words resonate still in my son’s present tense.
And when I hear a words like that used without respect for the dignity and rights of others – combined with the current lack of support for autistic adults – I must agree with Ari Ne’eman (Co-Founder and member of ASAN) – this is a civil rights issue. It is a human rights issue. It is an issue that transcends borders.
At barely 14, H is already sensitive to what others are saying about autism and he often feels personally threatened by representations of autism in the media that are framed as tragedy and epidemic. I have previously written posts about that – about the need to reframe tragedy – and about how these layers of autism stigma go deep and affect my child to the core.
Today I watched Ari Ne’eman on the Washington Journal (find the interview at 2:18:25). When I encouraged H to watch some of it with me, he responded:
I’d like to say, ‘How do they expect to make autistic people normal when everyone is different? I am with Ari Ne’eman. I don’t like what Autism Speaks is saying about me and people like me. I don’t need a cure!’
I like his indignation…
H and Ari Ne’eman are two of my heroes!
Please note: Ari Ne’eman’s testimony from the Congressional Hearings is available in full at: http://fb.me/xV5Heh46Related Posts: • Nurturing Neurodiversity: I cannot stop the Sea • Preoccupation with another layer of autism stigma: Crap…this goes deep! • To the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: Autism and Reframing Tragedy
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
©Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2012)