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Autism Speaks: Time to Listen by Autistic Self-Advocate Amy Sequenzia

Autism Speaks: Time to Listen by Autistic Self-Advocate Amy Sequenzia

photo of Amy Sequenzia

 

April is over

Awareness and blue lights are over.

Time to change the conversation

For we, autistics, are still here

And your campaign of fear did nothing to improve our lives.

 

Time to listen, Autism Speaks.

(And all the other organizations that follow your lead).

 

The message you send

Of fear and despair

Has nothing to do with who we are.

It is a reflection

Of how we are treated.

 

We struggle, for sure

But we also succeed.

We are different, we are not less.

Despite statistics, we are not a tragic event.

We have always been here, we now speak up.

 

Do you know what the words you use to define us can do?

They can raise walls that keep us out

Of our own lives.

 

“Devastating, tragic, lost”

These are words that do not reflect us.

They are words used by you and your surrogates

In talk shows, fundraisers and interviews.

 

You have power

You have money

You get all the attention

But you don’t have the insight.

That’s our privilege

We are the true experts

We know about autism

We are autistics.

 

My life can have devastating moments

But autism does not cause them.

I can feel despair

But not because I’m autistic.

I wish for a cure

To how the world

Disrespects me.

 

Listen to us

We are different

But we are also happy

We are asking for respect for who we are

We need some accommodations

But we can succeed

We don’t want a cure

For this would destroy our personalities,

Erase our life history

Diminish our accomplishments.

 

Listen, Autism Speaks:

Stop telling parents how doomed they are,

How broken their kids are

Because they only despair

When they listen to you.

 

Show them instead

Examples of success.

We are succeeding

In our own way.

 

Help the parents

Secure what is important to their children’s lives

Lead the way towards acceptance,

Not the fixing of their children

They are not broken

They are perfect

In their own, unique way

 

I am one autistic

You like to call “tragic and severe”

I am non-speaking

I have many needs

If you could see me

You would understand

But those definitions don’t reflect my life.

Tragic is when I am working hard to be accepted

While you say that I can’t contribute in society,

While you say I should not exist.

 

Autism Speaks, time to listen

Listen to us

We have the insight

We know what helps -

- and it is not what you say.

Anna says:

I agree!!!!!!!!1

Avatar of claudia blue claudia says:

ADD YOUR RESPONSE

Avatar of claudia blue claudia says:

Amy, looking forward to your next post!

Avatar of audrey audrey audrey says:

Beautiful words. People are listening.

Avatar of Lauri Hunt Lauri says:

Great post, Amy!

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