If you aren't a nonspeaking Autistic, you simply cannot understand what it is like to be one. I am Autistic & I will never FULLY understand what it's like to have such a strong body/mind mismatch like what my son has. We have a lot of commonalities, but we aren't the SAME.
It has been a journey to try and understand. Like, I always knew he was this amazing fire inside, and he's certainly proven it, but it doesn't mean I know what it's like for him to live with his body and brain every single day.
And, I'm not trying to vilify it, but I know he's expressed he just doesn't know why his body reacts in certain ways at times. I know he gets frustrated when he cannot express himself the way he wants to at times. That's why I am really trying to give him as much as I can.
Just knowing my son, and reading the words of other nonspeaking Autistic people (I'll never stop being thankful), it is just so valuable in learning about the incredibly complexity of the human existence. It so much more than we can possibly imagine.
Things like this are why it's so critical that we MUST have disabled leadership. The people who are living with major disabilities are the people we NEED to listen to; we need to lift up. Because, they know what is going on. They know what is needed.
My son is still so early in his journey. He's only 8 years old, but god, he blows me away every single day, even on days where we're struggling and I don't understand every single thing he does. I am a flawed human being, but I have to keep trying.
And, not all the trying is going to be for public consumption. A lot of it will be private. I was born with the desire to change the world, but my own home and the happiness inside has to come first.
My goal is that building that healthy foundation, will allow me to lift others up as well. May my struggles mean that somebody else has to struggle less. May my failures mean, that someone else doesn't have to fail. May my hands hold others up when they are able.
I never want to claim to be anyone's voice. Not my son's voice, not any other nonspeaking person's voice. I want to be an amplifier for THEIR voices. I want to be the bridge, the step ladder, the support. But, let us lift up those who have so much to say. Let us listen.

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More from @awesomebrandi

19 Sep
So, what IF someone who self-diagnosed as Autistic was wrong? What exactly is going to happen? It's not like 'officially' diagnosed Autistic people are being showered with endless support and acceptance, so what exactly is a self-diagnosed person harming? NOTHING.
People who realize they are Autistic do it because they've been searching for something. They've been trying to understand themselves, why they see the world the way they do and looking for community. Why is that a bad thing? Why is someone feeling at home in their skin, bad?
It's NOT bad, but what people don't like is that self-diagnosis puts the power in the hands of the people, instead of the elite few. People don't WANT disabled people to have their own power. People want to continue to control and deny disabled people.
Read 9 tweets
17 Sep
I was misdiagnosed as bipolar as a teenager, heavily medicated, forced into hospitals and harmful 'professionals' which left me with serious trauma and never actually helped me feel better with any of my challenges.
It wasn't until realizing I was Autistic and ADHD, and then being on ADHD medication, that really changed my life. I have been on SO MANY medications for 'mental illness' and nothing has worked like ADHD medication has.
Doctors, professionals, etc are NOT immune to bias. The DSM has been modified many times, and still needs further modification. There is a big difference in what people understand about the brain vs the body. Science is ALWAYS a work in progress.
Read 16 tweets
17 Sep
So, O was not happy with me last night after an encounter right before I was going to put him to bed. So, he went to my spouse and wanted HIM to put him to bed. He was trying to pull him up the stairs to do bedtime instead of me.
I am sorry he was annoyed with me for the necessary thing that happened, and we have already had our moment, but I loved seeing him express himself and his wants, and we switched kids for bedtime. Like, even if he was mad at me at the time, he's allowed, and he expressed it.
Sometimes my kids are going to get mad at me. They aren't always going to agree with me. That's allowed. They are human and they're allowed to disagree with their parents. They're allowed to disagree with other adults, too.
Read 4 tweets
14 Sep
I live in this really weird in between spot that not a lot of people live in. I grew up in extreme poverty, and now I am middle class. I live in a 'nice' neighborhood in a 'nice' house, that we happened to get a killer deal on at the time.
I normally feel like I don't belong here. I am still the poor girl that I grew up as, inside. Yet, I spend time with people who have money, and even if they had less growing up, not many people can relate to what I went through and how that trauma affected me.
It's hard for me to feel comfortable with people who've never experienced oppression of some sort. That's why pretty much all my friends are traumatized, disabled or both. Plus, a lot of immigrants and BIPOC. Those people are the people I feel safe with.
Read 10 tweets
13 Sep
When people talk about their Autistic, or otherwise disabled children, they often bring up 'independence'. But, we need to shift from the idea of 'independence' to 'autonomy'. By providing support to O via typing, he has more AUTONOMY, and therefore a higher quality of life.
If I simply said 'well, he has to be fully independent' that reduces his quality of life, because he wouldn't be able to fully communicate the nuance of wants and needs he has. Independence is a false concept, anyway. Most people aren't ever 'fully independent'.
But for some reason, with disabled people in particular, there is an obsession with independence and bootstrapping. And, then we leave people struggling so hard that they really have no actual control over their lives, because they can't get that first step up.
Read 4 tweets
12 Sep
Disabled children need to learn how to identify, accept and seek support for their needs.

Disabled adults need continued acceptance AND support.

Disability doesn't magically go away at age 18.
Give me a complex problem, a thick, verbose book, anything that I can sit down with by myself and figure out - sure, I can do that all day long.

Shopping, parties, paperwork, going to the dentist, all of that shit? Overwhelming as fuck. It's HARD.
So many things that are supposedly 'easy' or 'routine' for people are hard. And, if you say they're hard, people look down on you for it. But, it is hard. Do you know how many times in a grocery store, it felt like I was suffocating and I wanted to lay down?
Read 7 tweets

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