I’m currently reading We’ve Been Here All Along, a collection of poetry and essays by autistics over age 35. I may post more about it when I’m finished, but for now, I want to talk about the bias in the publication: all autistics whose contributions I’ve red so far, are reltively capable, eloquent, language-type Aspies. This may seem logical given that the contributions are written, but I for one know of a few non-speaking autistics who can write. They don’t make it into autistic literature as often, but they exist. The bias favoring more capable autistics also a bit annoyed me. Where are those older autistics who aren’t parents or in relationships, don’t have jobs, and don’t live independently? We aren’t all Temple Grandin, you know? This bias is common in autistic literature, but it also perpetuates the myth that less independent autistics need their parents to speak for them.
I for one am a moderately able autistic, being in a relationship but not living on my own or ever having had a job. I so badly want to hear from other autistics who need intensive supports. Maybe that will dismantle the myth that only those who presumably can’t speak for themselves, need or deserve these supports. Then again, there is also the myth that those who need intensive support, shouldn’t speak for themselves unless they say what the staff want to hear. And then there is the idea that those who aren’t as capable and are still speaking for themselves, are more capable than they are. That in particular frustrates me, because this myth contributes directly to my likely not ever getting the supports I need.