Jesse talks about the "cure for autism" issue...

2013-03-11 11:30

Occasionally people mention the importance of “curing” autism, and a lot of autistic people usually react with a little concern; while the strangers who would replace us may be very nice people, they are not us.

Someone asked Jesse about this on tumblr, and I’m just gonna quote the conversation because it’s persuasive:

Anonymous asked:
hey so in response to the “cure for autism”, now im not autistic so i dont have very much right to speak for anyone, now my cousin is severely autistic, all he can really do is moan and yell with a few words, but mostly talks through pictures, now what do you think about giving the “cure for autism” to those folks? as it would help them function on their own? it seems like its a huge disability for them??

Jesse:
i think, if it existed, you’d have to ask him, not me. he’s a person and should be allowed to make his own decisions, even if he has to communicate them to you in pictures.
just because you don’t understand him doesn’t mean he’s not human.

Anonymous:
i never said he wasn’t a person i was simply wondering about if you think it would be good for him, as i was asking your opinion, as if if you were in his position would you want it? or even if he would grasp the concept and what it means, as a lot of what we do must be extremely strange to him!

Jesse:
i’d like you to take a step back and look at this conversation from a bit of a distance, if you can.

you’re asking me, a stranger on the internet, what is best for your own cousin, whom you know personally.

you’re asking me whether a person i’ve never met would ‘grasp the concept’ of his own autism and whether he would want it changed. you’re not asking him, because he communicates in pictures. because you don’t understand his language, you’d take a stranger’s opinion over his, when he himself is the topic under discussion.

this is why we hate Autism Speaks. because they have this attitude. ‘they’re so impaired they don’t even understand the conversation, so we’ll just talk about them over their heads, and make decisions about them without consulting them.’ the fact that you’re asking a mildly autistic guy what’s going on in a strongly autistic guy’s head doesn’t really change what’s going on here.

i’m not going to flip out and call you ableist or whatever, because i don’t want you to feel bad, i want you to understand. if you aren’t willing to learn how he wants to communicate, then you need to stop having opinions about him. or asking other people to have opinions about him. his situation is only any of your business if you make the effort to understand him. has anyone even given him a text device? does he get enough quiet time to ever recover from overload? are people driving him silent by constantly pushing him to fake ‘normal’? i don’t know! do you know?

there is no ‘cure’ for autism. it’s purely hypothetical. but there are definitely ways to make it a whole lot worse, and a whole lot of people with autistic friends and relatives systematically do those things that make it worse, and then they think the reaction to this well-meaning abuse is what autism is. you’re talking like your cousin is severely retarded, like he has no actual thoughts, like he’s some half-sentient animal. but some ‘severely autistic’ people who supposedly can’t communicate… turn out to be able to type quite coherently if people stop doing ‘quiet hands’ and forcing them into public and making sudden noises around them!

tl;dr: i’ve never met the guy. you tell me.

Peter Seebach

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