Why Advocacy?

I have a bigger post on Self-advocacy for Neurodiversity which i wrote as a guest post for STARS Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, but, fundamentally here is a little explanation:

An Advocate is somebody who speaks on behalf of other people.  A self-Advocate is somebody who speaks for themselves.  I am both. I speak with my own voice as a way of determining my own outcomes for myself.  I also speak on behalf of the a community.  I do not singly speak for the this community, nor do i fully represent them, but my opinions generally fall into line with the majority of the active community, so i am entitled to be able to speak with an element of authority on what the community as a whole wants to achieve.

The Community i advocate for is the Autistic Community.  I self-Advocate for my Autistic self.

As an Autism self-advocate I speak for myself.  Nobody makes decisions for me. Nobody shuts me down or dismisses me. Nobody knows what I have gone through or am going through.  Nobody but me understands how being Autistic shapes my worldview or how I navigate and interact with the world. Others Autistics advocating for the Autistic Community may speak on behalf of me, but never for me.

As an Autism Advocate I speak on behalf of the Autistic Community.  I'm one member in agreement with a lot of members, we do not always speak with one voice, but generally this is what we fight for:

  • We will speak for ourselves.
  • You will listen to us.
  • We will have control of ourselves and our destiny.
  • We will decide how the 'Narrative' of Autism is told
  • We will be accepted.
  • You will use Identity First Language
The Autistic community needs the ability to speak for itself.  We have a long history of oppression by both society and the medical community.  We've suffered enforced stays in institutions, experimentation, neurological programming, forced medication, forced conformity, bullying, segregation and it is still happening now in every corner of the world.  Talk to Autistic adults and young teens from even supposed First World Countries like Britain and the US and you will hear us using phrases such as Abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Go into any Autistic group online that allows non-autistic people in and you'll find them talking over the Autistics or telling them what they should be doing and how they should be doing it.  

Talking not listening.

I see people (Mostly Neurotypicals) talking a lot about an 'us and them' mentality and that by advocating for itself, the Autistic community is causing divisions between ourselves and Neurotypicals.  What these people fail to consider is that the divide is already there and it was put there BY the Neurotypicals.

We probably sound militant and aggressive to a person who has not experienced the lives that we have.  I was told the other day that telling Neurotypical people what they are doing wrong regarding Autistic people is hypocritical.  That we should all be loving each other and holding hands for a better life for everyone. My response was:

Hypocrisy would be Autistic people locking Neurotypicals up in Mental Institutions.

Hypocrisy would be Autistic people looking for a cure for Neurotypicalism.

Hypocrisy would be Autistics neurologically training Neurotypicals to change their personalities and physical manifestations to make us feel better.

Hypocrisy would be Autistics expecting Neurotypicals to mask their differences so that it makes Autistics feel more comfortable.

Hypocrisy would be Autistics systematically oppressing Neurotypicals.

What hypocrisy isn't, is complaining about any of those things I've just listed.

Hypocrisy isn't venting frustration or pointing out things that fail Autistics in the Neurotypical world.

We are not hypocritical.  

We have found a voice. 

And boy do we like to talk...

Follow by Email