For people who insist that you're superior, you sure seem to be scared of us.
You call our existence a national crisis. A tsunami. An avalanche. A tragedy. A horrendous loss. You say the way we are is soul-sucking, life-killing, all-consuming, like a monster that eats and eats and eats until you are hollow and empty inside.
You call us "children with autism" regardless of our age.
And you warn each other that we will be the end of you.
And oh, do you try to end us instead. You pour millions into research on how to get rid of us. You shove children into therapies designed to break their spirits so they'll hide themselves. You shunt us off into hidden places, because showing an autistic child in public would be a mortifying experience.
Why do you try to stamp us out? Why do you fear us so much?
Oh no! Maybe I'll rock back and forth a little when I type. The horror! I may sing to myself when I prepare my food. How awful! Sometimes my fingers move instead of staying still!
Oh, but of course you'll say I don't have REAL autism. Because, you see, I have proven that I'm capable of thought. You can't dismiss me as "simple-minded." So if I'm able to challenge you, then my opinion doesn't count. No True Scotsman, no true autistic.
What I'm asking for is respect. What I'm asking for is to live in peace. What I'm asking for is not to be bombarded by your puzzles and cures and disaster rhetoric. Maybe I just want to sing songs and brush my sister's hair and read programming tutorials.
And you know what? Those so-called "low functioning" people deserve all those things.
I'm talking about the people who don't talk. The people who drool. The people who grunt and wave their hands. The people who have panic attacks. The people who get seizures. The people who have meltdowns every day. The people who need help in order to type. The people whose only language is screaming. The people who get treated like babies, with people talking about them like they aren't there when they are in the room.
Yes, your cousin. Yes, your child. Yes, your neighbor.
I see them, I hear them, and I care.
They deserve kindness. They deserve to have their competence presumed. They deserve to have their interests uplifted instead of squashed. They deserve to be treated like thinking, feeling human beings, even if they can't prove it in a way that you'll accept.
I look at these people, and I say "I am your sister. I love you and I want your happiness. I will fight for you."
I don't care how many issues you have, how difficult your life is, how many things you can't do. I value you and I want you to have the best life that you possibly can. I want you to be loved and respected and cared for.
People sure seem to hate and fear us. Especially those of us who aren't able to defend ourselves.
So if they have a deficit of love, then my friends and I will pour love everywhere until the caring crowds out the air in everyone's lungs.
Because when I see autistic people, I can see all the love.