I’ll make it very clear at the outset this post is not going to be dealing with the “do vaccines cause Autism?” Argument. That has been done to death many time over in many other places.
What I want to deal with is how the anti-vaccine movement treats Autistic Individuals.
In my work as an advocate, I do end up dealing with anti-vaccine individuals, and recently I’ve had major concerns with the way in which they talk to, and treat, the Autistic Community. I’m going to attach a few examples of interactions I’ve had with various individuals, to explain my point
Here’s the first example. As you can see, their attitude towards Autistic individuals isn’t exactly friendly. This is actually a common tactic used against Autistic Advocates, I’ve discussed this in a previous post (https://anautisticinsight.com/2017/05/22/but-you-are-too-high-functioning/ )
The claim that my Autism is not “realAutism” is an attempt to discredit/undermine me, by saying that I am not ‘Autistic enough’ to properly understand their viewpoint. It’s an argument that is utter nonsense, quite frankly.
Apparantly asking people to listen to Autistic People and how they object to being portrayed as burdens, brain-damaged and numerous other things is a bad thing, apparantly.
This is another favourite tactic of the Anti-vaccine lobby. Instead of responding to the points I make, they decide that I’m not a real person, and I’m some sort of ficticious creation. I’m not sure how this works myself, because I’m fairly certain I’m a real person.
Apparantly having an Autistic family member trumps being Autistic. Whilst the entire Autistic Community is extremely diverse, the vast majority of us are in agreement that we strongly object to being described as burdens, damaged, injured, and all manner of other things.
Again, we return to the “you aren’t really Autistic” argument.
Autistic People aren’t allowed a view on how they are portrayed, according to the anti-vax lobby.
I could go on and on and post dozens more example, but these are just from the past 24 hours.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask people that when Autism is being discussed, that to respect the wishes of the Autistic Community, and to stop portraying us as damaged, injured and somehow broken individuals. If you genuinely want to help Autistic people, like the anti-vaccine movement claims, you can begin by listening to us. And we’ve made our feelings very very clear, over and over again. Stop demonising us. Stop using us as props for your campaign. We are human beings with rights, not something you use to make a point.
In the past few weeks I’ve had all manner of bullshit thrown at me from the Anti-vaccine lobby, and I can handle it, but I’ve recently found my patience wearing thin.
I’m also issuing an open invitation for any anti-vaccine individual who disbelieves anything about me or my work. Come and meet me for a cup of tea. I’d be happy to have the chance and sit down, face to face, and talk you through the history of the Autistic Advocate, what we have done over the years, and any other subject you may want to discuss. It’s easy to sit on Twitter or Facebook and just throw mud at me. I’m inviting you to have a civilised discussion with me, which I’d be happy to do. You might find I’m not a shill, or a made up person, or some sort of imposter. You’ll probably find I’m actually quite a nice person.
Invite will always be open. If you genuinely want what’s best for the Autistic Community, I strongly urge you to accept.