I’m struggling with how to deal with the movement of parents to neurodivergent kids. On one hand, I’m a parent to an autistic kid and I need help to fight for a better society for disabled children. I can’t fight that battle on my own. On the other hand, I’m autistic myself and when I see all the ableist views that the parent movement presents over and over, I feel so hurt. I can’t be a part of them, I can’t silently stand beside them when they talk about neurodivergent children as burdens.
I know that they are struggling. I know that many of them are exhausted and depressed because of the fighting they have to go through just to get their kids basic things, like a school that doesn’t traumatize disabled children, and accessible healthcare. I know that all these parents are fighting for their own and their children’s lives because of a very ableist society. They are probably doing the best they can.
However, they are promoting ableist views. Most of them don’t promote the voices of neurodivergent people. Over and over, they listen more to each other than to neurodivergent people who are trying to bring some first hand information about the experiences from growing up as neurodivergent. They take part in engineering a discussion that is dominated by abled people talking about disabled people. Where disabled people’s experiences of violence from the police, teachers and other people who are in an obvious position of power, is focusing on the parents’ perspective. A discussion that is deeply dehumanizing, where for instance autistic children’s horrifying experiences from schools turn into a discussion about how expensive they are to society.
Every time I see one of my autistic friends trying to engage in a conversation with them just to be dismissed as not important enough to listen to, I get paralyzed. My conscience is clear: the right thing to do is to stand up for my autistic friends. But I freeze. I find myself staring at my screen without a clue about what to write. I freeze because it scares me. Because how will things ever change when the people fighting for a better society for neurodivergent people are so ableist themselves without even acknowledging it?