Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What We Mean When We Say We Are Our Best Voice

The Seven Deadly Sins in the World of Autism

There is often talk about the fact that autistic people are the best advocates for themselves.  However, some people seem to generate some confusion about what that actually means.   What "autistic people are the best advocates for themselves" does not mean:

-Having a token autistic spokesperson.
-Listening to one person with autism before deciding to speak for all of them
-Speaking on behalf of all people with autism or any person with autism no matter how well you know them
-Taking what an autistic person says to try and justify your own agenda on autism
-Using a person with autism to advance the agenda of a predominantly non-autistic group
-Saying your view of the issue (e.g. cure all people with autism) instead of an autistic person's view (give me the services I need to thrive in the world) because you believe you and he are saying the same thing
-Simply quoting someone with autism when you try to speak for all autistic people

What real autistic representation means is: having autistic people be the predominant group speaking their own entire platform exactly as it is for themselves without it being used for one person or groups advantage directly to the people they want to communicate with for their own purposes in whatever venues they choose to express themselves through.  Anything else, no matter how well-intended, is an affront to our right to speak for ourselves.

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