I Am Autistic, And I Will Not Be Silent

It hurts my heart to see so many disabled people being treated like dirt. It hurts my heart to see so many disabled people being treated as less than or Othered. It hurts my heart to see so many disabled people being teased, tortured, dismissed, being made fun of, or gaslighted. That includes autistic people.

I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like to be treated this way. When I attended a Lutheran church in Dryville, two teen Lutheran girls were staring at me like I was some kind of monster or something. There were three little girls who were making fun of me behind my back too. I left that church not wanting to go back at all. I am now attending Grace Bible Fellowship Church.

It makes me sad the way we as autistic people are treated. It saddens my heart when society views us as tragedies, burdens, or an epidemic. People are so quick to judge us, and give us dirty looks. They are so quick to call us names and make us feel like we’re less than or Othered. They dismiss our feelings and treat us like we don’t matter.

As the first day of school approaches for my stepsister and nephew, I recall my fourth grade year when I was ten years old. A fifth grade boy called me names, told me to go away, and used hateful language. I talked about it to my aide, who was Miss Martin at the time, and she, the fifth-grader and I had a talk about it, and he said he was sorry. But he still was cruel to me after that. I really hated that so much.

I thank God for all of my Facebook friends, my pastors, my choir teacher, my brothers and sisters in Christ at my church, and my autistic friends. I am also thankful for my non-autistic friends as well.

I’m proud to be autistic. And if there’s anybody who wants to make me feel like I am less-than or Othered, they should know that there’s a God who knows that they treat me like this. And He sees the way they treat me and other autistic people. And He sees the way they treat other disabled people. And He knows that they are taking away our voices and dignity.

I’m autistic, and I have been bullied and treated like dirt since 1992. I have been called names, made fun of, dismissed, and I have been treated like I have been less-than and Othered. I still get that today. I have feelings. I don’t lack empathy. I am a kind person. I am a tender-hearted person. I have a sense of humor. But when I am made fun of or called names, my feelings get hurt.

We disabled people are human beings, too, and that includes us autistic people. Please do not treat us wrongly. Please do not silence or dismiss us. Please do not squelch us. Please do not hurry us up and treat us like dirt. We are human beings too, and we need to be treated with kindness, respect, love and compassion.

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