You might have heard. You might have not, but I’m here to fill you in.
Recently, there is an autism mom, whom has taken it upon herself, to write a comedy show about her autistic son, not to praise him or laugh with things he does good, but purely about his autism. I have seen the promotrailer, but if you want to look at it, you will have to do it yourself, because I’m not going to boost her traffic any more than this blogpost will do: look for “promo on the spectrum nikki osborne” on youtube, and you will find it.
I will say that I haven’t seen the full show, and actually I don’t need to. In the promo, you will see, that she laughs with the things her autistic kid needs to take with him, to feel safe and to be able to stim (my hunch, because she gives a list of batteries, a bit of playdo’h and other items, that I myself would use to stim, although my favourite stim stays a deck of cards or something else with which I can practice magic techniques.
I think it is appaling that she, even after a backlash from autistic advocates, defends her show by saying: “It would be counterproductive to do a show that would make life more difficult for my son. I have very honourable intentions. It’s about my personal experience as a parent and overcoming the upset of [an autism] diagnosis through humour” (quote from the Sydney Morning Herald) She goes further into this with: “I also go into everyday, bizarre people who are considered typical. If we can’t learn to laugh through our struggles, we’re stuffed.” Next she goes on to use a strawman-autistic to defend her point. I kept thinking about Judy Newman and how she defended her book and the rethoric about and how she defended her book as a biographic telling how she dealth with the diagnosis of her son and his autism diagnose, also the strawman-autistic argument is used, as her son was “enthousiastic” about her book.
This is the exact same rethoric to exploit an autistic for her own neurotypical gain, to get her autism mom sympathy points (more details here), off course autism moms will jump to defend her, to defend her exploits and applaud her courage of coming out to tell her struggles in a humouristic way.
Autistics all over the world can shout all they want, but we will be ignored, her show will go on and she will be lauded as a courageous woman telling her difficult story of having an autistic, imperfect kid. We can shout all we want, we can protest all we want. We will be forgotten. We will be put in a sideline. We will be told that we are to sensitive and there will be people that say that her autistic loved the show… all the usual arguments.
More and more do mothers get a platform to tell their stories but we autistics get nothing, not even on seminars on autism do we get a voice and are we more often than not talked over. Even in autism organisations are we seen as second level members.
If you are autistic and reading this: we need to become even more “vocal” and protest even more, become even more visible. Become even more proud of our identity and talk about all the ways that these people exploit us and tell the world, tell everybody with ears or the ability to read. We need to protest this shit.