I am an Autistic person, not a scientific phenomenon

Recently I have been reading Authoring Autism by Remi Yergeau. It has really been opening my eyes to the use of rhetoric in the construction of narratives surrounding Autistic people, and has very much inspired me to write this.

I am an Autistic person.

And yet the world treats me as a phenomenon, a peculiarity that needs to be studied.

Some of the world fears me, others adore me. Some care not for whether I live or die, while others fight for my existence. Most of them have one thing in common; they don’t trust me to speak for myself.

Autistic people are treated as clinical subjects. Repetitive and self-stimulatory behaviour. Clinical definitions for a deeply disordered non-human entity.

But I am human.

I am a person.

What they pathologise, is what makes my existence into a thing of poetry.

My repetitive hands trace the words that my mind can not find. My fingers type the stories that my mouth doesn’t speak.

What they call self-stimulatory, I call world altering. Where they reach for liquor to calm their mind, I find calm in the flapping of my hands, each beat like that of a birds wings.

Their description of sensory processing issues are actually a connection between my body and environment that I can not put into words. While their world is painful to me, I guarantee that they haven’t heard the electricity in the light bulbs sing.

They assume incompetence from all except themselves.

I am not a mindless automaton. I breathe the same air as you. I feel love and hate, pain and pleasure, I ponder my place in the universe. I see and hear how you talk about me.

I am an Autistic person not a scientific phenomenon. Let me write my own stories.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: