02 January, 2012


I know this isn't an interesting post, it's probably my 100th post on the subject. I try to avoid even reading about this stuff because no one cares. But I quit tumblr, so sometimes I have to say boring emotional stuff on my regular blog.

1. It's so dumb to think that listening to PWD aside from your own kid means that you have to obey and agree with everything they say! PWD don't even all have the same life experiences or opinions. Why don't you just treat people with disabilities like people with disabilities who might have something to say that is important and, even if they don't, don't deserve to be personally attacked?

"But I didn't personally attack anyone!"

Oh yeah, I've heard that before...too bad Ability Statements Are a Personal Attack! There's no way you would be into it if I started making assumptions about your kid or your life so why do you think disabled people should be all calm about you doing the same to us?

No disabled person wants a bunch of parents following them around and obsessing over their lives and worshipping them. Well some people do, but they're famous and they try not to talk politics because it might distract from the worship. You're not talking to those people, you're talking mostly to some really young/not-famous people with disabilities who don't want to profit from our disabilities but just want to be able to talk about them. We don't want you to agree with everything we say, we just want you to stop being disrespectful and acting like we're not even here.

This is especially annoying when used as an origin story, like, "I used to believe everything that disabled people on the Internet said, until someone told me that one person wasn't diagnosed with the disability they said they were diagnosed with, so now I don't believe ANY disabled people on the Internet." If you legit were believing everything all disabled people said AND prioritizing what they said over your own common sense and experience with your kid--instead of just listening to them like you would listen to any normal person, and thinking about what they said critically--well, why were you doing that? Why do we have to be always right or always wrong?

We're just OTHER PEOPLE, like you.

2. If I see the word high-functioning used one more time by someone who is claiming to be evenhanded...okay I'll probably have the same reaction as usual. Super big sigh, bad mood, usually avoiding a conversation with that person. That word just feels like they are stepping on other people and not even noticing or seeing why it's important.

3. It's not that weird that people from a certain minority group involved in advocacy would not be representative of everyone in their group. I remember someone (non-disabled obviously) making a comparison between gay advocates and Autistic advocates, and hastening to add, "except, the difference is not all Autistic people can do this kind of advocacy."

Yeah, okay, what about gay people who don't have the money or the mobility or the cognitive or emotional ability to participate in a certain kind of advocacy? Since we're always on the subject, what about gay people who have multiple severe disabilities? What about gay people who smear feces?

I would like to see mainstream gay advocates acknowledging gay disabled people more, obviously, but what I'm saying is I don't think you automatically have the right to discredit advocates just because they aren't a perfect microcosm of the community they are supporting. For example, people who can use the Internet independently, and read and type fluently, are more likely to be involved in blogging or having conversations on blogs. People who can use the Internet independently were more likely to find out about The Loud Hands Project and submit clips of themselves for the video. (According to one guy we all dress like "hipsters," and therefore don't have real autism. I'm still trying to figure out what people with real autism dress like? Probably guayabera shirts.)

I think it sucks that many kinds of anti-ableist advocacy aren't accessible to a lot of disabled people and I would like to change that. (I know that one of the goals of The Loud Hands Project is to do exactly that.) But I don't think, given the current lack of support, there is anything surprising when most disabled people who have anti-ableism blogs or attend meetings of disability rights organizations have certain abilities that make it easier (or at least possible) for them to do those things without support. It also doesn't mean they aren't severely affected in other areas, but no one cares about that, blogging is ~the most important thing in the world, ever.

4. Finally, just stop saying high-functioning! Again! It makes it impossible to talk to you because my head is going to DROWN in how annoying you are.

Especially if your kid is also "high-functioning" or could be classified that way, but for some reason you're neglecting to mention that. Maybe because you secretly sense what a shitty word that is to describe someone who's having a really difficult time! Or, maybe because you don't want to lose points in the argument. Possibly both! No one knows.

Like I said, this is probably the 100th post I've written on this subject and I swear to God, I don't think a single parent has ever read something like this and changed their mind and realized they were treating other people badly. Seriously. 100 posts. All bouncing straight back into my own mind.

If you have known me for a while, you probably remember my 2010 campaign to acquire a severe developmental disability by throwing myself in front of a FedEx truck before my 22nd birthday. Since I've missed the legal cutoff I would now have to throw myself a bit harder, or drink Drano, to get out the high-functioning deal. I know you think this is really insensitive and insulting to you and your kid, but try and think about WHY I would feel like that is a smart or reasonable thing to do. Because I really, really did feel that way.

A friend of mine recently described himself as "too disabled to work, not disabled enough to get disability benefits." If you think that kind of life situation is best described as "functioning," then you are a shit. Seriously. When I look at you, I don't see a person. I see a turd.

Of course I know you don't see anything when you look at me either!


  1. "If you think that kind of life situation is best described as "functioning," then you are a shit. Seriously. When I look at you, I don't see a person. I see a turd."

    They're not a turd, they've just been taught to smell like one.

    Here's how autistic people are supposed to dress:

    It's in the official Asperger's Guide, duh.

  2. It sounds like the basic problem is that you feel like you're more disabled than how society sees you.

    I can't really judge if you're right about that or not, since I don't know you in real life and I don't have the expertise to judge that sort of thing anyway.

  3. It's not about how disabled I am. It's just a way of talking about people that I find hateful.

  4. Justin Bieber is autistic? Or wait, is that faulty logic? Autistic people dress like hipsters, but not all hipsters are autistic?

    And how about Pancho not even MENTIONING the guayabera shirt barb? THAT is called the high road!

  5. Jim you make me happy.

    But Justin Bieber is not a hipster!

  6. Going to say some more...

    One thing to remember is that non-disabled people and even many disabled people have been socialized to have these responses. This (just specifically the socialization) is not their fault. You have every right to be angry at people when they are hateful, but they didn't ask to be that person anymore than you asked to be autistic. In this way you can recognize that you and the people you care about are wonderful people who don't deserve that treatment, while giving the people who will change a chance to do that. Because it is really, really messed up and we'll still be dealing with this when we die, some of us sooner than others but ultimately regardless of that. Your post was not unnecessary or uninteresting.

    As long as we're talking about how I dress, I was wearing a black guayabera shirt when I commented yesterday and I trust Amanda Forest Vivian so my dress sense is good according to the rules. Sorry for not volunteering for the video.

  7. I was watching New Year's Rockin' Eve with my wife and elder daughter (because that's what the elderly do), and noticing the Bieb's cardinal red skinny jeans . . . thing. I could have sworn that was standard issue hipster attire.

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  9. I'm new to this and I've never actually run into people who haven't believed me about being disabled or speaking for Autism or anything like that. I guess I've been lucky that people around me have been basically on my side or indifferent. It makes me angry to hear all the things that people seem to say to or about people like me, but I don't know who to get mad at yet because it hasn't happened it person yet. It's sort of a creepy feeling, like having mysterious distant enemies.

    It makes me want to speak out to the larger world myself, both to know first hand what we're up against and to help out. I actually made a blog, just to post this comment. I'd been planning to start blogging and who knows when I'll actually post anything, but you should know that despite being repetitive for you this post pushed me farther in the direction of actually speaking out. I hope that makes you feel a little less frustrated and helpless. You do something by continuing to repeat this stuff.

    Maybe I'll be able to be helpful because I don't dress like a hipster (I think). I'm not sure if I would know if I did. I've dressed in plaid flannel shirts and jeans since 1994, when I was pressured into being fashionable once and that style stuck forever. Nothing else looks right to me. I'm told it went all the way around to back in style again so the effect is perhaps lost now. Or maybe it's out again? Who knows.

    Anyway, I've managed to push through ridiculous technical difficulties to post this stupid little comment so I hope you don't mind if it wastes your time. Believe me, it wasted more of mine. I'm trying to get better at saying things on the internet, but I think I'm still awkward even here. But I'm going to try because I think Autism blogs on the internet are the first true home I have found and I don't want to be cripplingly shy here too.

    I'm not sure if I have an overall point or summery. But thanks for listening.
    (After all that I had to use my google account. I don't know what's wrong with Blogger)

  10. wow I'm so tired and all I wanted to do is say that I thought Pancho doesn't believe in "wonderful people," but your comment is so nice I feel like I should say a LOT

    if I never manage to respond to it you should remind me, I'm going to go hibernate/buy easymac now

  11. Is now about when I'm supposed to remind you?

    Sorry if it wasn't. (To be honest I'm still slightly nervous that you weren't talking to me, even though I can't figure out who else you would be talking to).

  12. Thank you! Since you reminded me I've had your name written on my keyboard BUT I don't remember what I was actually going to say in response to your comment. I think probably just that I am glad I contributed a tiny push in the direction of your blog starting (you're doing a loud hands post right?) and that I appreciate you battling your technical difficulties and shyness to leave a comment. Also yeah flannel shirts are in sorry. I'm wearing one right now and we know I'm a hipster.

  13. Well, you're welcome. About flannel shirts: it's okay; I know they'll be out again and I'll look properly autistic some day. In the meantime I have to stock up on enough of them to last through the next fashion cycle.