There has been a lot of talk about the Autistic Community Vs. the “autism community.” People say its one or the other and there is no in between. I do not agree with this. It may have something to do with me being involved with the Deaf Community.
The Autistic Community
The Autistic Community is exactly how it sounds. It is made up of every autistic person in the world. Just autistic people. There is no way a non autistic person can be a full fledged member of it. It is just impossible. They cannot co opt our identity. Members of the Autistic Community communicate, perceive and interact with the world different than non autistic people. The majority of the Autistic Community does not want to be changed. The autistic community wants to be accepted for who they are.
True Allies of the Autistic Community
What are true allies? They are non Autistics that respect Autistic culture. They support Autistic people the best they can while respecting the rights and dignity of Autistic people. I do believe they belong in a separate category. True Allies fight for Autistic rights along side Autistic Activists. I picture this group as the bridge between the Autistic Community and Autism Community.
The Autism Community
The autism community is everyone else. The autism community is made up of parents, relatives, medical professionals, specialists, therapists, teachers, etc. The Autism Community really is not a thing but something put forth by Autism Speaks. These are usually people speaking over Autistic people. They are parents of Autistics who think they know better than Autistic people. These are the people trying to cure us with dangerous treatments. These are the parents who are not true allies. These we refer to as “warrior” parents or “martyr” parents.
The parents call themselves “Autism” moms or dads. All this does is co opt our identities. You do not go around saying that you are a Deaf parent when you are not. That is one example.
In this community, they believe that we need ABA to assimilate to non autistic culture. They believe they need to make us just like them to measure success.