Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Autistic's Prayer

This is a prayer I recite every morning after my meditation for the furthering of advancing equality and access for autistic people in our society.  This prayer is for the advancement of cross-disability activism, inclusive education, inclusive societies, neurodiversity, the halting of the excesses of groups like Autism Speaks, and for the safety of all current and future autistic people in the hands of their caregivers and others.

May we never allow the short sight of people’s potential to override the long future we are all bound to share together.
May we never allow our thoughts on the quality of one’s future stop their future from coming to fruition.
May we not let groups paying large money to medical, management, or corporate expenses move us to not pay it forward.
May we not allow the medicine we have been given me used to call others diseased.
May we utilize our hearts with wisdom and striving,
recognizing all people under oppression and ableism as potential allies.
May we take note of the discrepancies on our schools and let the government know that we know.
May we allow all brains the full opportunity to make their greatest contribution to society, notwithstanding our current medical knowledge in any given age,
peacefully when we can, while protecting ourselves and our loved ones from harm and danger.
I say this prayer to plant its wisdom firmly within me so that it may spread around me and throughout our earth,
Every day of every month of every year until equality is realized.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Call to an "Autism" Sorority

This is a response to sorority Alpha Xi Delta over their support of Autism Speaks.  Currently, during the murders of London McCabe by his mother, his father asks that all donations in respect to him go to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network or the Dan Marino Foundation.  I put this up in response wondering if AZD truly cares about “the children” as they say they do.

Higher Priorities

How many Alpha Xi Delta chapter heads does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None.

Because in their world, lightbulbs were never invented
because no one existed to invent them.
And yes, bring on the “fuck you’s,” and rolling your eyes
because in four years, your letters will go in a box,
but our lives will live on forever.
And you may become mothers of children, even autistic children,
and then where will that have gotten you?
We are the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network,
with support and activities,
a place where we all meet new friends for life,
doing real philanthropy,
giving each other support to help reach our dreams and goals.
Our colors: the colors of the rainbow;
our symbol: the symbol of infinity;
our mascot: any animal really-we autistics can sometimes relate to them;
our flower: flowers for the autistics dead by filicide on National Day of Mourning
with chapters through Kansas City, York, Michigan, Australia, New Zealand, and Oregon;              
with headquarters in our nation’s capital,
our motto, “Nothing about us without us;”
founded in 2006
by autistic collegiates;
our minimum GPA: none-you don’t even have to be in school;
our costs: none, though donations are welcome;
our letters: whatever letters are necessary to raise our voice.
Parties, glamor affairs, alcohol: these are not for me, thank you.
I don’t care too much about how I dress, and I don’t feel the need for acceptance in this mass consumer culture.
I don’t feel the need for others to know what I’ve done.
I wear no mark of dignity on my sleeve.
I am proud in myself, giving while others are sleeping, rocking in my own skin.
Nature, poetry, movement, and the arts: these all inspire me.
Needing only to go where women are as they appear in mirrors and want what they speak for.
I consider myself akin to all who care what is good and pure in this world,
taking a paddle to discrimination.
Not a Greek organization: we are a Turkish organization.
And caring and support are its pledge,
becoming members for life.
These are my brothers and sisters.


Autistic Pride Day Song

I would never want to be someone I’m not,
and leave my own self just to rot.
I am autistic and proud.
I’ll say it out loud.
We are human first.
We’ve been through the worst.
I can live just as good a life if the chance is given.
Better, if I am that driven.
I don’t need to ne neurotypical if I am to heal
or pomp from celebrities and sex appeal.
Our services are where we should be investing,
not in genetic testing.
A person’s abilities are not a choice.
We together are our greatest voice.

Too Young, Too Young

London McCabe and Jude Mirra: young boys I never knew, much too young, much too young.
Could I meet the young men of which they never grew, much too young, much to young.

They had no voice,
or if they did, it didn’t stop them from meeting this fate, much too young, much to young.

Painkillers in drinks and a fall from a bridge,
the thought that the mothers tried to prevent a bad future seems of great debate, much too young, much too young.

While services are behind,
a rescuer has shown up too late, much too young, much too young.

London had many willing surrogates,
but his mother’s drive was much too great, much too young, much to young.

Hate the mother, hate the child;
there’s always hate, much too young much too young.

An Autism Organization Like a Date

You sit by the movie theater
waiting for your date.
He was going to meet you at lunch a movie.
He said he’d meet you at 3:30.
You are as anxious as ever.

3:30 arrives.
You expect to see him.  It’s ok.  He’s only a minute late.

3:35.
Don’t worry, you tell yourself, He’s probably just running behind.

3:45.
You’re anxious but you decide to wait for him a little longer.

4:00.
You’re telling yourself he’ll be there.  Just wait a little longer.

4:30.
You realize it’s too late to get dinner and a movie, but you can still see the movie if he gets here in five minutes.

4:31.
You call your date just to let him know you thought you were meeting today at 3:30, wondering if something came up and you hope to see him soon.

4:50.
He hasn’t called or texted you.
You are a little annoyed because you paid for the ticket,
drove all the way out here,
and spent hours on your hair and make-up,
and still he hasn’t shown up or called.
He’ll be there.  We can still go out.  It will be just the same, you assure yourself.

5:15.
Still waiting on the bench, you decide to take a walk around the strip mall.
You walk by a bar: there he is,
kissing the girl who gave you hell since first grade.
You decide it’s ok.  He says he loves me.
I don’t want to rock the boat by hurting him,
He said he’d show up, but he never has.

Autism Speaks is the rude date.
Those who depend on them are the girl.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sins of the Mothers: Three Ways the Media Grossly Portrays Jillian McCabe's Murder of Her Autistic Son


It’s no news to me that autistic children have been murdered by their parents, as have non-autistic children, and when they are, they are frequently given lighter sentencing (because their child was autistic), and shown great sympathy by the media, who praise their actions as “mercy killings.”  Karen McCarron, an Illinois mother of a non-verbal autistic daughter, killed her daughter in 2006 and was sentenced in 2008 with thirty-six years in prison, thirty months of supervised release after her prison term and a $25,000 fine.  The media praised Karen, however, saying she was brave to kill her daughter because she “might not have had a good life.”  This argument is used by mothers who get abortions, yet the politicians (particularly Conservative Republicans) and the media, especially in the last few days with the elections being held, demonize these women as murderers and child-killers.  But when a child that is unequivocally a living thing is murdered, assuming they are autistic, the media and law makers give them sub-standard sentences and sympathy.  Recently, two autistic boys, not even ten years old, were murdered by the people they should have been able to trust the most: London McCabe, seven-years old, by his mother Jillian, and Jude Mirra, eight, by his medical entrepreneur California mother Gigi Jordan.  For this, Jordan was given twenty-five years for manslaughter, while Jillian is held on $1 million bail until her court date on November 12.  Jillian has also been justified by her supporter under the notion that he was mentally ill.
                It saddens me to see these boys lost.  They were younger than any people I have ever known or met to have died young, including twenty-year old college students who I danced with at a school formal.  While the media

1.       While the media praises “courage” of these non-verbal autistic mothers, they show no respect for mothers of non-verbal autistics who gave their children all they could to have the best possible life:  Seriously, there are non-verbal autistic whose mothers (and fathers) respected that they had great talents and gifts to give, in spite of the fact that they would never meet conventional markers of success, including Brooke, the daughter of autism mother and blogger Diary of a Mom, Emma Hope, and Amy Sequenzia.  I know many of these mothers myself and they are willing to sacrifice everything they have worked for so their child can live with the best possible life.  Ignoring these mothers while praising Jillian and Jordan is an insult, as if saying it is more courageous to murder your autistic child than showing them love and support to lead whatever the best possible life is for them.

2.       McCabe and Jordan did not make the most human choices for their son, and there were plenty of others out there: Even if they could not have handled the stress of raising a non-verbal autistic child, there are others who could who would have been happy to raise these boys.  Autism organizations worldwide spoke out on the murder of London, stating how before his death, many other parents were willing to adopt him.  The media honors these two mothers for instantly jumping to the most violent and life-threatening solution.

3.       The phrase “mental illness” does not justify murder: When mentally ill people such as Elliot Rodgers and Adam Lanza from the Santa Barbara and Sandy Hook shooting murder non-autistic and older people, we do not tolerate that.  Jillian McCabe and Gigi Jordan should be no different.

4.       And for one fourth fact: How will Jillian and Jordan’s life after their children’s death compare to the life their children will now never know:  Jordan’s (and possibly Jillian’s) sentencing, though not near what I would have liked it to be, will include over two decades of prison, with possible jail rape, abuse, and physical and emotional torture.  Not to mention the fact that they are both now parents who have lost their own children.  I know many of these parents.  I have stayed up crying countless nights for their own well-being, as well as my own.  They and their children have gone to my schools, my temples, my workplaces, everywhere.  Many never recover and have later contemplated or tried suicide.  That Jordan and Jillian thought the pain of losing their child would be less than the pain of their children as they never make it to traditional markers of success shows me how little they care about them.  And the fact that they were willing to face the cruelties of prison life over living in a world with their sons shows me they deserve them even more.  These events have prompted such a passion for all autistic people in me that the day after I heard about the first one, I wrote on Facebook with a link shared to the murder, “Let me just say to everyone now that if you ever abuse, neglect, discriminate, intimidate, harass, or malign an autistic of any background, in any capacity, for any reason or for any cause, I wish for no connection of any type to you, whether they be professional, romantic, platonic, or even electronic. Let me also say to anyone who has endorsed, promoted, or manipulated the idea of "autism awareness" in any way: that the mere phrase "autism awareness" is not a term for which I will instantly consider you harmful, but if you are to be connected to that phrase in any way possible, I consider the burden of proof to be on you that you and your efforts have gone beyond the bare minimum to respect the concerns, issues, respect, dignity, equality, feelings, and integrity of every single, solitary person who is in any way, shape, or form a member of the autistic community.”

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Autistics Speaking Day: We've Been Published!


For me, I felt like I didn’t get to do enough celebrating yesterday at Halloween. I could have gone trick-or-treating, could have carved a pumpkin, or toured my schools old Yeater hall and learn the legends of how the third floor of what used to be the sorority house is haunted.  But instead I got caught up in homework, environmental work, and trying to start and autistics student and peer organization at UCM.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy these things, but because of them I didn’t get to celebrate much Halloween.  Luckily, November 1 of every year is Autistics Speaking Day.  Autistics Speaking Day is a holiday started by autistic activist Corina Becker and promoted by her friend Kathryn Bjornstead in response to an event called Communication Shutdown, where people are asked to go a day without social media, which to its creators is supposed to show non-autistic people the sense of isolation they think we experience in our daily lives.  While Communication Shutdown may have been started with the best intentions, it shows a real lack of understanding of how many real autistics feel.  In response to this projection by non-autistic people, Autistics Speaking Day was created on November 1 through a website started by Corina called autisticsspeakingday.blogspot.com.  Each year it collects writings from autistic people all around the world to tell their stories in their own words and grew to over several thousands of contributors since it has started.  Note: it is not connected to Autism Speaks or any other major organization that is devoid of autistic representation or uses analogies of autistics to car wrecks to raise money for genetic research into autism without helping families bear the financial costs of paying for autism services out of their pockets.  Some contributors do support AS, but they do not represent all autistics contributing.  I wish I’d mentioned this sooner, but if you are autistic, or an ally (which they'll ask you in the form), you can find the submission form next year on their website at autisticsspeakingday.blogspot.com.  Be sure to submit before November 1 of next year.
This year I wrote a post for The Autist Dharma Ten Examples that Show Violence Against Autistics is Alive and Well in American Culture, for which I also submitted a link, my name, and the title to the Autistics Speaking Day website submission form for 2014.  Note: this post contains graphic depictions of horrible acts committed by society to autistic people, for which I mentioned on the submission form, as I was asked if my post needed any content/trigger warnings.  If you are triggered by acts of violence, including rape, torture, and electroshock therapy, do not keep reading any further.  f you are interested in reading it, and you know you can handle it, you can find it on Autistics Speaking Day’s website at http://autisticsspeakingday.blogspot.com/2014/10/ten-examples-that-show-violence-against.html with the rest of this year’s Autistic Speaking Day Posts.  Or you can find it on my blog at http://autistdharma.blogspot.ca/2014/10/ten-examples-that-show-violence-against.html with the rest of my posts (and there’s a link on ASDay’s website with a link to my blog anyway, so…).  So if you want, sit back and enjoy the Halloween season.