Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Victims, but not of Autism

Trigger Warning: Abuse, neglect, tragedy/victim model of autism

In TIME, recently, they called siblings  "Autism's Invisible Victims." Of course, I have to take issue with the idea that siblings are somehow invisible. Siblings are heard, just as parents are- over the voices of the actual autistic people. Siblings are heard, not studied, to our studied and not heard. Read any article about autism in a newspaper, in a magazine. How often do we hear about the tragedy of being related to us, how difficult it is to be related to us, what life is like for our parents, our siblings, our false friends who are seen as saints for simply tolerating us? How often do we hear from us?
No, the siblings of autistic people are not an invisible group. Their wants and needs are far more visible than ours.
And they are not victims of autism. Autism does not victimize unless an autistic person is victimizing someone, which, yes, it's possible, and no, it's not common. Usually we are the victims of others attempts to enforce normalcy and conformity, not the victimizers. The statistics agree here- like other people with disabilities, autistic people are victims far more than we are perpetrators for abuse, for bullying, for violent crime. We are disproportionately victims, and we are disproportionately not the ones who did the deed. Even we, however, are not victims of autism. We are victims of a society not made for us.
And our siblings? Well, in many cases they are not victims at all, though sometimes they are, in fact, victims. Not of autism, but victims nonetheless. They are victims of society, who will punish you for even being connected to someone who is different. They are victims of their parents, who put all their "normal" dreams on the backs of the "normal" sibling. They are victims of their parents again when everything that their autistic sibling does is blamed on autism, even when autism has nothing to do with it, creating resentment of their sibling, resentment and fear both of autism. They are victims of their peers when they are forced to choose between taking a stand for their sibling and taking likely social repercussions (being the new target of the bullies, perhaps) or having the victimization of their sibling (also not by autism) continue and the resulting losses of self respect, quality of relationship with their sibling, or both. They can be victims of the fact that their parents don't understand balance (autistic kids need time to just be kids, and should not be in therapy all the time, so there really, truly, actually should be time for the neurotypical kids too.) They can even be victims of all the "autism diets" that don't actually cure autism, if the parents don't have time to cook for two different diets and the autistic kid is on one or if the parents think it will prevent them from becoming autistic. Sometimes they can be victims of no one noticing that they are autistic too because all the attention is on one sibling. Look at all these things a sibling can be a victim of when they have an autistic sibling. Look at how none of these things are cases of being victims of autism. They are all cases of being victims of other people's reactions to autism, and not of other people's correct reactions either.
Siblings of autistic people can be victims, often are victims. However, they are not invisible, and they are no more victims of autism than the autistic people are, that is to say, they are not victims of autism.
Put the blame where it belongs. Autism isn't that place.

1 comment:

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