Thursday, December 1, 2011

How It Works

NTs with Big Ideas: We decided to create this autism-related service/ make this autism-related documentary / write this autism-related policy brief.

Autistic Advocates: Was it developed in consultation with Autistic people? Can Autistic people use this service? Are Autistic opinions featured in this documentary/piece of writing?

NTs with Big Ideas: No, we chose to focus on non-Autistic parents and professionals.

Autistic Advocates: Why on earth would you exclude Autistic people from this thing which is about autism?

NTs with Big Ideas: Well, we had limited resources, so we could only focus on one stakeholder group. And we chose to focus on non-Autistic parents and professionals (is that two groups? Oops, I meant we could only focus on two groups) because — um…

because parents and professionals have all the spending power

because parents and professionals have the biggest lobbies

because if we consulted Autistic people, they would want us to provide a different kind of service than the kind we want to provide

because if we consulted Autistic people, they would want us to take out this ableist rhetoric which we want to use

because it never even occurred to us to ask Autistic people about this thing

… because we did.


  1. Fuck. Yes. This is why I love you. Perfectly illustrated a major problem that they refuse to address in a short but awesomely satirical fashion.

    They always choose the non-autistic voices over ours and they always have some other excuse. The real reason is that they don't care what our opinion is, unless we agree with them and maybe they'll add our comments as a footnote but it'll get buried in a mound of supportive messages from warrior mommies.

  2. Thank you so much, Kathryn! Reading your comment made me super happy.

    When I think about it logically, it boggles my mind that we end up as an afterthought, or a footnote, in any autism-related project. Then I remember what most people's perceptions about autism are and I think about how much work we have ahead of us if we want to change this stuff.

  3. In a world where victory is given to the most aggressive voice rather than the most deserving, I am glad to see you're still writing articles like this. Thank you for continuing this blog. It gives me confidence to write my own.

  4. I love you. This kind of writing makes me really happy.

  5. As a parent, I'm glad you're saying these things. Because the way I've experienced it, it is often the last, "it didn't occur to us" problem (although I'm sure sometimes it is much more intentional). But for parents who just haven't thought about it? (The obvious next question of course is Why not?) Hearing this as often and as loud as possible is so important.

  6. This is awesome. YOU are awesome. :-)

  7. I am a parent and I fight for my sons input everyday!! They are part of everything we do for them! I also help parents and their children and I try to help them listen and understand their children for who they are!! Please be patient with us though we are learning too! Ari I love what you do!!!

  8. Funny, and sad, and funny. well done!