, 30 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter

I don't really have the time or brain space to address every misconception and mistake in @Spectrum's hugely controversial article today, but I need to take issue very, very hard w/ the closing quote...

(Thread incoming)
"But he [playwright Alex Oates] has another suggestion: 'My aim and great wish was to help these parents and therefore their children,” he says about the play. 'If there was a way for those autistic voices to turn their outrage into advice for the parents, I’d love that.'" 2/
...Because it belies a truly egregious level of either ignorance or flat-out misrepresentation of the topic he is addressing here.

Because the autistic community expends...so much time and energy on this exactly. 3/
It is SUCH a common refrain from those who've been on the receiving end of criticism from the autistic community, that it'd be great if we could DO something instead of just yell.

And it pretty much betrays that someone doesn't have a lot of contact w/ the autistic community. 4/
Or they'd know. And I have no trouble believing that Mr. Oates simply does not know, b/c he has not taken the time to engage deeply w/ autistic communities.

I have a harder time believing @Spectrum doesn't.

If they don't, they need to. They need to know better than this. 5/
These aren't even all the books there are by autistic people attempting to translate our experience & advice, our rage & our sorrow & our joy to parents and professionals, as well as for our own empowerment. Just the ones I own in hard copy. 6/
(NeuroTribes is not by an autistic person, but Mr. Silberman engaged deeply w/ the autistic community in writing it and it shows, so honorable mention.

It's also very vividly a book about autism as disability.) 7/
I edited one of these books; it took up every moment of free time I had for three years, while I was also being a full-time stage manager. 8/
Not pictured b/c I don't own hard copies but very important: Loud Hands, ed. by Julia Bascom; the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, vol. 1, the anthology that Respectfully Connected has avail. for free, several other fine publications by ASAN. 9/
@thinkingautism is a joint parent/autistic led forum where many, many autistic people take the time to have frank discussions w/ parents. Parenting Autistic Children With Love and Acceptance was founded specifically for parents to ask advice from adult autistic people. 10/
Ibby Grace ran "Tiny Grace Notes" for a long time, answering some really difficult questions from parents; I don't think she updates anymore, but the archive is worthwhile. 11/
A handful of local neurodiversity lending libraries, run entirely by individual autistic volunteers, aim to make autism-positive material available in their own communities b/c public libraries & major bookstores often don't. 12/
Respectfully Connected is a blog entirely(?) of parents, many autistic parents, sharing their journeys of learning to parent their autistic kids more helpfully. 13/
We Are Like Your Child (@wearelikeyrkid) was founded specifically b/c parents asked us for a place where we'd talk about some of the harder stuff in a more unvarnished way. 14/
AWN @awnnetwork_ is an all-autistic led org working to make social resources & info avail. to autistic women, girls, & nonbinary people, who are often underserved or ignored by traditional autism orgs & research. We have welcome packs for both newly dx'd girls and parents! 15/
Neurodiversity New Jersey, Foundation for Divergent Minds, Autism and Neurodiversity in the Classroom are either autistic-led or autistic/parent collaborations improving local educator education about autism & accommodating autistic students. 16/
Autistic people have founded *multiple* small presses, we run local meetups, we channeled a ton of energy into helping save the ACA...multiple times over the past couple years by informing senators what consequences of repeal for disabled people would be. 17/
Today, ASAN and other activists are rallying around the country to #StopTheShock, asking the FDA to ban electric shock devices used on autistic students at the Judge Rotenberg Center like they said they would 5 years ago. 18/
Every March, autistic people lead the Disability Day of Mourning vigils, remembering the lives of autistic & disabled people killed by their families or caregivers. 19/
Every year, we participate in the #AutINSAR tweet chat, communicating directly w/ autism researchers as to what the biggest challenges of our lives are & what directions we'd like to see research go. 20/
Autistic people serve on the IACC (the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee) and also attend meetings and submit comments to that body on funding priorities. 21/
Autistic people even serve on the board and work in other capacities for Autism Speaks, trying to lead that org in a better direction. Quite frankly I think they're wasting their time, but there are absolutely autistic people making that effort; no one can say there aren't. 22/
Autistic people I know work as direct support workers for other autistic people and mentor autistic kids in their own communities and families. 23/
Crysanthe Tan, advocating to make classical music & performing arts more accessible to autistic people as both audience members and professionals. nmbx.newmusicusa.org/master-guide-t…

That's just off the top of my head--what am I missing?

Anyway, you get the point, I hope.

Autistic people are NOT just sitting around complaining about theater we don't like and not doing anything to help or educate parents. 25/
And anyone with enough contact with the autistic community to be considered a credible source by a major publication on the subject, should know that. 26/26
Oh god, I know what. I know multiple autistic people, like @smneumeier and @ltaylorparker, who have BECOME LAWYERS specifically to more effectively help autistic and other disabled people.
And also? The idea that autistic adults should be willing to advise parents of autistic kids was SO present from the earliest history of the autistic community that it inspired backlash to the idea of obligation to be a "self-narrating zoo exhibit."
Autistic adults have nearly always been so willing to open ourselves up in order to help parents that many autistic activists believe we've become much TOO willing to do so.
(Also this pic doesn't even include my entire autism collection. We've also written great stuff in media studies, fiction, children's lit, poetry. We write. a lot. attempting to translate autism to the general public.)
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