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.