You know. I started reading that horrific book as a bit of a whim, thinking it wouldn’t be that bad.
I’m the autistic mom of autistic kids, my husband is autistic, we value and appreciate our children and ourselves in pretty much every particular. Are there challenges? Absolutely. But they aren’t anything that neurotypicals don’t deal with, we just deal with them differently.
Usually by communication. We use text a lot with each other, because a lot of times it’s far easier to type or sign than it is to talk.
The point isn’t how we use adaptive technology to make our lives run smoothly, the point is that we communicate.
So I honestly, to the soul of me, didn’t understand how a mother could write and publish a book that would be anything except a joyful celebration of her child’s uniqueness.
I had hoped, foolishly, I guess, that the screenshots of the book I’d seen before reading it had somehow been… not so much taken out of context, but perhaps were just… I don’t even know, overblown maybe?
I didn’t understand how a mother could think those things about her brilliant child.
And never for a moment did I think, reading about Gus, that he’s anything less than brilliant.
He’s so smart I have a feeling he’s manipulating his mom because of how she so very clearly infantilizes him and shows overweening favoritism to his twin Henry, who is also autistic.
Though obviously, neither the author nor Henry know this. Henry shows all the markers of autism, he just presents differently.
We ALL present differently. Which is part of why autism is so hard for most people to recognize when they see it, and that absolutely includes so-called professionals (most of whom are neurotypical) in the field of diagnosis.
It’s a common reaction for autistics when we are abused by ABA practices (to learn to manipulate) especially if ABA therapies are impinged upon us by parents who believe the revolting bullshit that Auti$m $peaks tends to tout.
We learn to do everything in our power to protect ourselves, because we don’t have any choice.
This author… the things she does to both of her sons. It’s utterly appalling.
I can’t, even still, after reading that atrocity… I still can’t believe that a mother could write those things about her kids!
I can’t believe she’d share such personal things about her KNOWN autistic son, without his permission.
Without his knowledge.
Medical information, daydreams about having a ‘normal’ Gus… I just…
Reading that book broke something in me. It really did. It broke a faith I had that neurotypical society didn’t really hate me and the way I’m made.
And a couple of days after reading it and posting my review, I’m still shaken by it. I’m recovering, but it’ll take a week or more to regain my emotional equilibrium.
The outpouring of love and support I’ve received from the autistic community and a large number of neurotypical people have restored my faith in most of humanity.
“Autism parents”, however? They’re on my shit-list for life.
You can read my full review here, with links to the live-tweet threads I did as I broke it down, chapter by chapter.
If you want to know about the experience of being autistic, the hashtags #actuallyautistic and #askanautistic are far better resources than pretty much anything else I can think of.