The Autistic Voice
Streams of words
Flow as drops on paper
From the fountain pen,
Communication is easy when written,
But when spoken it often feels forced.
Although I am normal on the outside
– As normal as you are,
Which is crazy to me in your own way –
I often see barriers between us,
Impenetrable as they are wide.
– Autism –
As I may have it,
Is a developmental disorder
That affects the way
People grow up
We are, in most situations,
Completely intact intellectually.
The growth milestones often come delayed.
These include things like first words, walking,
And following conversations
Like ours right now,
When we are talking.
If you have met
One person with autism,
Then you have met
One person with autism.
The spectrum is a constellation of symptoms
That individuals with autism
Happen to share.
No two people are identical;
No two cases are the same.
Yet, for some reason,
The stereotypes of Rain Man
And Albert Einstein remain.
After all these years,
We should watch The Good Doctor again.
However, even though we are whole as individuals,
Many of our advocates claim that a piece of us is missing.
They do research without listening,
Speaking on our behalf
That we lack theory of mind, empathy;
That the world should be aware of us
Without desiring us or accepting us.
Beauty is subjective,
By nature selective.
For this reason,
Awareness is not what we want.
We are blue because we want something more
– Inherent dignity – from you,
To be sincerely embraced for who we are
Without having to change ourselves beyond recognition;
To receive true, authentic love
Without preexisting conditions.
We want to be a part of the world around us,
To be apart from the world
That stigmatizes us
And manipulates us
Because we are naive, jaded,
And neurologically different.
Autism is not so much a disability
As it is a difference.
It is a diagnostic label
That need not become a person’s identity,
Lest that be his or her choice.
It is high time we made that decision for ourselves.
The moment has come to welcome the autistic voice.