There's something that I need to blow off some steam about. Recently, in one of the autism groups I belong to on Facebook, particularly a support group for parents, I've seen some comments I find quite disturbing. Now, I joined this group to give parents the perspective of an autistic person in the hopes that they could use it to apply to life with their own children. However, as of late, I've seen it stated multiple times that someone HATES autism.
I have a problem with this. People are comparing autism to a disease, such as cancer, which it is not. They claim that it "robs" their child of who they "could have been," it causes their child to "miss out on things" and so on. The thing is autism is a way of being. It is a facet of who a person is, and should be accepted as part of the whole. That's not to say is doesn't make things difficult at times; it does, but LIFE is difficult sometimes. Don't put the blame on autism. They make arguments such as "well, I'll never see my child go to prom or play soccer." Well, what if the child doesn't WANT to do those things, anyway? I never went to prom, and I have no regrets. What did I "miss out on?" A lot of money spent and a night of boredom. I rest my case. That, and maybe their child WILL be able to do those things, after all! Let them be who THEY are, not who you want them to be.
Yet parents are telling me that my view is wrong, and fighting tooth and nail to defend their stance that autism is something deserving of hate. I'm told I'm wrong for accepting who I am an embracing it. That I must be "high functioning" to be able to have such a conversation. How am I wrong for encouraging people not to hate a part of their child, and to try to convince them to reframe their thinking? I tell them things such as "a child who is nonverbal has other methods of communicating, and perhaps they can show you love in ways you never thought possible." I get beaten down and told that I'm "telling people how to feel," yet they seem to think it's fine and dandy to tell an autistic person that they have a right to hate something that it a part of that autistic person's identity. Pretty backwards, huh? I just don't get it. No, THEY don't get it.
To sum it all up, hate is a very strong word. Hate that your child has struggles. Hate that the world isn't accepting of them. Hate that others are so narrow-minded as to not be willing to understand them, but don't hate autism. No one asks to have it, but for those who have been dealt it, they and all parts of them are just as deserving of love as the next person. You wouldn't say you hate your child's blue eyes or freckles, would you? Autism is a trait, and in many ways, a gift. It deserves to be embraced. I don't "have" autism; I am autistic, just as I'm blue-eyed, Polish, a sister, an animal lover, and so on. I wouldn't be me without it :)