Recently, a certain Facebook page run by an autism parent requested their followers to list Facebook pages run by autistic people and, as I expected from the followers of someone who compares themselves to a superhero in their blog/Facebook title, the majority of suggestions were pages run by parents, co-run with parents, and/or shiny aspie stuff.
One particular commenter suggested a specific Facebook page, which is attached to a specific blog, run by an awful parent who consistently speaks of and treats his son disrespectfully (and that’s putting it mildly). I couldn’t NOT say something…
“[different awful blog] is NOT written by someone who is autistic and actually denigrates his autistic son fairly often. The writer is not looked at kindly by many in the autistic community, as he has a long history of gaslighting and silencing autistic voices, in addition to speaking poorly of his son.”
The commenter responded to me:
‘First [page admin] kindly already explained she was looking for pages with autistic writers, which I did not understand from her post. This was my mistake. However I love [different awful blog] blog, the work [awful parent] does and his love for his son. I do not wish to argue with you, so to each his own. Go troll another persons post.”
Trolling. Yes, I’m trolling if I speak up against someone who views autism as a curse, regularly refers to his son by patronizing nicknames like “his highness” and “the king”, and has a history of treating autistic advocates like garbage. And of course, your “love” for an awful person is much more important than making sure people don’t think it’s acceptable to view autism in the manner he does and to treat autistic people in the manner he does. Yes, to each their own, and thank you for showing me how you feel about autism and autistic people, by aligning yourself with someone like that, commenter.
The caped administrator of the page we were commenting on (not the awful parent blogger in question) decided to chime in…
“We can all agree or disagree respectfully:) My own perception of [awful blog] has been to find him to be willing to offer help and support to families of children with autism, to offer information that could prove to be helpful for many, and I don’t find his posts about his son to be denigrating, but more honest in his frustration at not being able to help his son reach a higher level of independence. I absolutely understand how it can be perceived as speaking poorly, so I surely don’t mean to suggest one person shouldn’t feel the way they do…but I am also entitled to how I feel. Not gaslighting. Not silencing anyone. Just disagreeing.”
I responded to both…
“Commenter – Thank you for showing yourself to be a typical [awful blog] fan/autism parent.
Page Admin – Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion, but as someone who strongly feels autistic children’s personal information should be private, I believe [awful parent] has seriously violated the privacy of his son, continuously exploiting his son’s diagnosis and situation for his own personal gain, with no regard for his son’s dignity. And that disgusts me. He has been extremely rude to many autistic advocates and is a terrible example for parents of autistic kids.”
Of course, the superhero blogger had to make it all about them…
“I certainly can’t speak to how rude or not anyone else has been to autistics. I can only speak for myself. As for personal gain, I’m not sure what personal gain anyone might be talking about because I can tell you with some certainty, there is NO personal gain in telling a story on Facebook. No book deals, no movie offers…for me, this is all about connecting with people who might understand my journey. And yes, I have a journey with my autistic son. I do respect his dignity, most especially because he can’t tell me how he feels. But there is no personal gain.
And for the record, ‘typical autism parent’?!!! Is that anything like a ‘typical’ gay person? Or a ‘typical’ white person? It diminishes the credibility of your argument when you use derogatory comments toward others. To call someone a ‘typical’ ANYTHING is offensive.”
Oh. So you’re going to paraphrase The Bullshit Fairy at me, but completely miss the point of their entire post in the first place (one which you all really should read)? Way to perfectly illustrate the accompanying graphic on said post. So I responded…
Don’t quote someone else’s recent blog post at me, trying to make a point about the term ‘autism parent’ or I’ll start quoting a plethora of blog posts right back, to show you how your behavior and [commenter]‘s behavior in this thread are dismissive and typical.
There is absolutely personal gain to be had in blogging and having an online presence. It’s not always financial, though [awful parent]‘s has been, along with ego-feeding, etc. I never said YOU were in it for personal gain, Admin. I said [awful parent], of [awful blog], has been. I’m really not sure why you are taking this as my talking about you. Please re-read my comments. However, thank you for gaslighting and backing up a parent over an autistic adult.
There is very much a ‘typical’ parent of an autistic child, especially online. They are the people who assume everything is directed toward them, they assume everyone who disagrees with them is trolling and/or ‘just being negative’ and/or ‘obviously doesn’t understand’, they also tend to assume autistic folks like myself are ‘high-functioning’ and/or ‘not like their child’. They also tend to enjoy tone-policing and/or correcting autistic individuals on the individual’s lived experience.
[awful parent]‘s fans (like him) are usually most – if not all – of these things and, the cherry on top, also do not see adult autistic advocates as worthy of listening to, despite our ability to provide insight to your child’s thought processes and willingness to do so for no other reason than we care about our younger peers and their future. They talk down to us, shush us, and refuse to listen to what we have to say. And they make it all about them, not the bigger picture.
When an autistic person says, ‘Hey, this particular blogger is being consistently disrespectful to his son, in a manner which will harm his son (if and when the day comes his son reads the blogs).’ and you stick up for that person with the ‘But I like him!’ attitude… you’re gaslighting and saying you prefer your own comfort, at almost any cost, over reality. And that, right there, makes a ‘typical autism parent’.
If you want to argue with me further, feel free to continue to expose yourself as yet another typical autism parent. I’m unfollowing this thread. Otherwise, take the time to read and process what I’ve said, look at it critically and unbiased, and maybe figure out why I’m saying the things I am… rather than trying to find a reason to take it personally and defend yourself. Therein lies the issue with most parent bloggers: they make everything about making sure they stand their ground and refuse to take into consideration the ground they’re standing on is potentially unstable and quite muddy, in the first place.”
I’m off to play Autism Parent Bingo.