I got home late from work today, lugging my books and bags and laptop and some likely-less-that-healthy Chinese food for H and me to have for an easy dinner, as Craig had a gig.
H greeted me at the door to help me with my bags and he was standing tall with pride as he excitedly told me, “Mom, I was an advocate for myself and for Autism today. I advocated on Garry’s Mod [an online sandbox PC game] and they listened to me. I am really proud of myself!”
I asked H if he would like to tell his story and post it on the blog, and without hesitation he agreed, “Yes, I want people to know about this and I think what I did was really ballsy, but I think other people can do this too.”
Here is H’s story:
Today I was playing Garry’s Mod and I joined this server and it looked quite promising at first, but when I scrolled through jobs I saw that one of the jobs was ‘Autistic Person’. When I looked at the description I was really offended, because it said “you listen to Drake and cry yourself to sleep and have random autistic outbursts.” I thought it was really ableist, so I then called for an admin. I told the admin that I found that is offensive and that I myself am Autistic, and that I am an advocate for Autistic people. I was asking them if they could remove that from the server. And then two other admins got involved. We had a small meeting. I told them being Autistic is something you are born with, like your sexuality… like if you are straight or gay. And I told them about ASAN and that I present at conferences and they listened to me.
I feel really good about myself. They said they will try to get it off the server, and I will be checking in a few days to see if they did anything about it.
Apparently some of the admins are Autistic, and they didn’t really find it offensive the way I did, because I guess they’ve grown used to it.
I am trying to build up understanding about Autism in the world and spread the word that Autism is not a disease and it doesn’t need a cure.
Just be yourself.
I am proud to be myself.And a final note of gratitude from Craig and me: We are thankful to have amazing Autistic, Neurodivergent, and otherwise disabled friends in our lives. If it takes a community to raise a child – this one is raising up a fine young man!
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, (2016)