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

Angry autistic child holds up hand to say stop

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.

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11 Responses

  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.

  2. So why is it ok for a parent to say they hate cancer if their child has cancer but if their child has autism they can’t say they hate autism? Let’s not forget that autism is a disorder. It is an abnormality. It is not normal. Why should we celebrate a disease that puts people at a disadvantage from birth?

    1. because autism is a huge part of their personality, it makes up who we are, and taking that away, or saying its bad says that we are bad. we dont die from autism, it isnt our personality (weather negative or positive) its a desiese that has no positives and doesnt effect personality and the way we view the world. autism isnt all bad.

    2. Because autism isn’t a separate thing layered on top of an otherwise-neurotypical child, but an integral part of the way their brain functions and by extension how they experience the world. You can remove a tumor from someone and that person will still be the same person afterward, but you can’t remove autism from someone without changing who they are. When you say you hate autism, you are saying you hate autistic people.

      You could have learned this by actually listening to autistic people instead of condescendingly explaining to us how disordered and abnormal we are.

    3. Cancer is deadly. If you think autism is an evil dreaded curse and a disease worse than cancer, you should go back to Autism Speaks. This website is not for hateful bigots like you.

  3. I disagree. I know a few people who would definitely be better off without autism.

    1. @Gigi, you are an awful excuse for a human being and you can go to hell. We have no room for neurotypical supremacist trolls like you and that neo-Nazi piece of shit Jill Escher. The vile hatred you are spewing at us says more about YOU, not us. I wish it was possible to report comments. I hope your kids run away and find someone better who actually loves them. You’re clearly unfit to be a parent. Are you an anti-vaxxer? Because anti-vaccine assholes should permanently lose custody of their kids and be arrested for child endangerment. Jenny McCarthy, Robert DeNiro, Jill Escher and you all belong in prison. People like you are responsible for millions of vaccine-preventable deaths every year. Your misinformation has undoubtedly made the current pandemic worse. Anti-vaxxers are mass murderers and belong in prison for it. And no, Autism is not worse than deadly diseases like measles and cancer. That’s like saying being black is a terminal illness just because the Ebola outbreak originated in Africa.

      1. It’s ok to hate your kids autism. Google it. Google “I hate autism” and see what you find. Parents at the end of their rope and understandably so. How dare you try to shame anyone for this you little ghoul. Absolutely disgusting.

  4. As someone with autism who fought like hell to earn a living for himself, friendships and romantic relationships, I hate autism.

    If anyone wants to love having it, that’s fine with me. They can take my autism away from me and have an even bigger “gift!”

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