|Mu, in the kitchen at work ©Kerima Çevik|
So my primary job is to use my position as his parent to highlight these injustices and work to end them. This blog is also a form of serial love letter to my son, as well as a declaration of support for him. It’s a testament to what I believe about him and his neurodivergent peers that I hope will exist for him to have long after I'm gone. The blog exists to tell him in my own voice that I have faith in him, and he not only deserves the best life can offer, but he also has the right to it and should not give up on having it.
If the language in the content is ableist and offensive to his neurology I will change it. If something I've written is not clear I've no qualms with deleting it or modifying it. My evolution from a miseducated parent steeped in ableism to a parent who now understands how to stand by him and help him self-advocate means nothing. This is not a biographical journey of me or my growth as a parent. This is a body of work for him.
My intent is to stand by my son and his neurodivergent peers and work with them to improve my son's quality of life by helping improve the quality of the lives of everyone in the Autism community.
We cannot continually wring our hands and curse our fate and denigrate our children in the process. We need to understand that whatever caused our children's divergence is not the point. The point is that no matter what the neurological differences of our children may be, they are fine, whole human beings as they are. What needs to change is the design of the things we build for our communities, all those physical, emotional, and intellectual structures, to accommodate and include them. That is what accessibility means. It is an action that declares that our children will be respected and included throughout their lives, and they deserve the same American dream that any child does. It is our job to help them achieve that.
This can only happen if autistic voices are heard and allowed in the policy-making of their own lives. WE DO NOT SPEAK FOR THEM. ONLY PEOPLE LIKE OUR CHILDREN CAN ATTEMPT TO CLAIM THAT. If our children can't speak, it is our job and their right to help them successfully communicate through other means. Remember our goal. Our goal is their autonomy. They have a right to grow up, leave our home if they wish to, and live an adult, autonomous life long after our lives have ended
So when I get calls, offers to speak and write or do anything public related to autism, I first check to see if anyone autistic has been contacted. Yes, I actually do that. If Oprah called tomorrow I would do that. Then, I mentally step back and review the above principles and remember the Autism Wars are about my son. This keeps me humble about why I blog and hungry for a world that allows him equal representation and a public place in an inclusive society.