, 19 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Autistic people "go hard" when they do something. Finding the autistic community and making the cognitive and emotional paradigm shift from "I am always wrong and need to show deference" (how we grow up) to "I am valuable and have been abused by systems and industries" (cont)
is a brutal rearranging of our whole psyche and sense of self. We make the decisive covenant with ourselves that we aren't going to be abused anymore and we will do anything possible to keep others from having the same experiences. It is a radical shift and a brave one (cont)
Sometimes, we over-correct. The lines are so obscure and hard to read between what is toxic abuse and what is ableism. We oscillate between realities: the reality that our voices are needed to help future autistic generations not suffer the way we did, but also (cont)
the reality that just like always, our voices are less valuable to the people who need to be listening to us than the voices of those who are telling them to "stay the course." We don't know when to be soft and when to be hard. We can't help but to be triggered. (cont)
It takes approximately seven positive statements to undo the impact of one negative statement in a healthy mind. We have grown so used to abuse and negative statements that we may never undo all the damage of internalized ableism. (cont)
But we need to have conversations as a community about how to foster self-advocacy that protects the mental health of advocates who will inevitably make mistakes and also how to navigate the minefield of nuanced social dynamics regarding social ableism. (cont)
Because when ableism is internalized, everyone who experiences it is a victim, even those unknowingly perpetuating oppressions. Non-autistic parents of autistics have the same devastating internalized ableism that we have towards ourselves. That’s why we go undiagnosed (cont)
Because we didn’t know what autism meant. Because society still largely sees it as people who bark at dogs and have no inner lives or depth or range of complexity. So we make up new heuristics, or internalized "rules of thumb," to define what we won't tolerate. (cont)
But often these heuristics end up harming other autistics who aren't where we are. We have turned advocacy into an exclusive club where we have forgotten that many people's tender nerves have been debrided by years of abuse and "behavior modification." (cont)
It will take many people years to untangle themselves from the social webs of abuse from schools, parents, religious institutions, mental health providers, social services, and the justice system that has not been just to them. (cont)
We have to help each other know how to shield them instead of punishing them. We need to be gentle with their raw nerves and flayed flesh. We need to forgive them for missteps and help them mature to self-love. We also need to stop expecting advocates to be perfect. (cont)
There is no rulebook. We do amazing things as a community, but we need to come together to make sure that we are not exclusionary of people who "aren't there yet," or who look up to us as heroes and role models. We cannot abide treating autistics the same way society does (cont)
We need a rulebook for how to do this. We need transparent discussions about how to help parents of autistic kids while protecting our own selves. We need to strategize about the best use of our energy to prevent the most harm. (Cont)
And I have over-corrected and have lashed out like a wolf no longer willing to act like a poodle on a leash. I can never again go back to the misery of masking and apologizing for existing. I am, like everyone else, navigating uncharted territory. (Cont)
What we need is to chart the territory and map the terrain with guides that are collectively informed. Autistic attention to detail and passion for the Greater Good has always driven progress in society. Now we can can find each other and multiply that effect (cont)
So let’s talk about how to get there. Let’s build and design and chart maps together with the help of our allies. There is nothing I will not do and no amount of obstacles that will stop me from trying—because I am autistic and because advocates helped me to see my value. (cont)
How can we do the most good so the most people find themselves & can feel proud to be a part of this community or an ally to their children & those doing the hard work of advocacy? How can we know when its okay to stop fighting? How can we ford systemic change? (almost done)
How do we make the #actuallyAutistic world a safe place to grow and heal and finally learn to thrive? How can we destigmatize autism? These are my thoughts and the questions that keep me from sleep. How do we make my child’s and your child’s world healthier and Safer? (one more)
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