Angry autistic child holds up hand to say stop

When Parents Say “I HATE AUTISM” Their Words Affect Autistic Lives

Whoever invented the “sticks and stones” parable was a liar. Words hurt, especially from parents who talk about autism like a burden. Words can lead to physical hurt. So, choose your words wisely. Autistic lives depend on it.

CN: physical and psychological abuse, discrimination, mention of filicide

Traumatic childhood memories

When I was 7 or 8, my mother “played with me” by catching me between her knees and tickling me.

I don’t remember how long the “game” lasted, but I recall pleading and crying, asking her to stop, my body throbbing with terror. To this day, I cannot think of these memories without reliving that anguish.

I would bite my mother. Desperate for safety from her assaults, I would bite her.

And, in response, she beat me to a pulp.

No one questioned whether my mother’s reaction was justified. It was clearly more than justified — it was her right and duty to teach me.

No one ever considered that I was defending myself against real pain, that, before biting, I had tried to communicate in an “appropriate” way, but I wasn’t heard.

I learned three things that day: I was alone, I could trust no one, and I needed to prevent anyone from thinking it was ever okay to “play” with me again.

That was the day my heart broke.

The past repeats itself

Yesterday, I posted the new My Atypical Brain event: The Day of Mourning for Autistic Filicide Victims. And a mother wrote me this:

“Regarding filicide . . . I have a friend on Facebook who, in order to avoid her son biting her, took out his teeth . . . you don’t know what anguish I had . . . I had him living in a very deplorable situation . . . until I started talking to her, but her situation is extremely difficult.”

I empathize with the child

I write this with tears running down my face and my heart in a thousand pieces…again.

I think of the mothers who use the “bites” of their autistic children to justify their “I HATE AUTISM” speech.

I think of this woman’s child and the daily struggles that motivate them to defend themselves with their teeth. I feel their pain as if it were my own.

I think of ALL autistics whose metaphorical teeth have been pulled out — how they’ve lost their rights to say no, their rights to self-defense.

I think of all the comments in groups where autistic people are assaulted for requesting non-autistics stop saying they hate autism.

My duty to the next generation

I don’t mean to offend the parents. But the lives of hundreds of autistic people are in danger if I don’t explain this to them:

Every autistic death you see today is the dire consequence of every “I HATE AUTISM” you’ve ever spoken, heard, or neglected to call out.

I’m sorry, but that’s the truth.

Words have consequences

When you promote or tolerate messages that frame autism as a threat and/or burden, you are not helping us at all. Not only are you failing to help, you are also contributing to society’s negative attitudes towards autistic people — negative attitudes that hurt your child and may result in the death of an autistic person.

Voicing such attitudes is cruel and unnecessary.

Just as feminicide results from the maltreatment and micro discrimination of male chauvinism, the killing of autistic people by their own caregivers results from the cruelty of misaustimia (hatred of autism).

Choose your words carefully

I request that you read carefully how some parents frame autism… as a burden, as aggressive

Such perspectives are voiced daily in the groups.

The difference is that some parents impart psychological violence and others impart physical violence.

But parents mean well!

This is the part where the mothers are offended and tell me I’m generalizing, that I cannot compare those who exercise psychological violence with those who murder.

Let me tell you how I see it:

Behind every mother/father/caregiver who kills their autistic child… there are hundreds of voices impacting the beliefs that justified this murder. Those voices are complicit, involuntary or not.

Behind every situation that has led to death, first, there were thousands of parents/caregivers just thinking about ending their child’s life.

Many times, these caregivers are desperate, and no one is supporting them or teaching them they have a RIGHT to support.

Those people just need a little push. Please don’t be the one who gives it to them.

3 Comments


  1. This exactly!!!

    There is a wrong focus on the way caregivers of all kinds voice their legitimate pain. They make it all about our autism when in truth the obstacles are systemic.

    Neurotypical privilege is not having a therapy wall to know yourself to begin. That’s not something to blame autism for.

    Autism shouldn’t be something too “unknown” for others to know how to treat us. I often say it’s “just another experience in life” when asked what autism means to me, because I’m sick of this “we have a long way to go” narrative pushed to justify other people’s ignorance.

    Like. Yes, they’re right. I KNOW we have a long way to go, but that’s the last thing I have in mind. We want to be treated like people YESTERDAY. Not when the Neurotypicals Finally Get Us. So many people were lost to this fundamental incomprehension, we can’t afford to have other people being ignorant of us.

    “I Hate Autism” feels like yet another useless narrative that centers on the feelings of inconvenience of allistics rather than legitimate feelings of impotence towards systemic lack of support if one isn’t privileged in some way.

    There is a legitimate communication issue here that could be solved if they only used their words right. Systemic lack of support isn’t autism’s fault, and that’s what these parents who go on full tirades against our core part of our identity need to understand.


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