I’m teaching a course on disability culture (“Disability Rights and Pride”) this term. Our primary book is Eli Clare’s Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure.
One of the issues that comes up in Clare’s book is the cultural assumptions about being disabled, assumptions that made his life worse growing up. And while Clare isn’t autistic (at least, I don’t think he is–he indicates a number of disabilities that he does have, but doesn’t mention autism), his experience reminds me of this song that my friend Carlyle brought to my attention a few weeks back.
The majority of the lyrics are quotations from autistic children and young people about their feelings and social experiences. It’s pretty heartbreaking, but important for those of us who aren’t autistic to take seriously:
And as Carlyle also regularly says, “autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.” The social isolation not only continues, but gets worse, for most autistics in adulthood. We, as a culture, have to do better.
As the video says, “listen to what they have to say. And more importantly, take action.”