But, someone realised there was a way to say that there is Big Money in ‘fixing’ us so we’re not autistic any more. And Big Business likes Big Money.
So, the myths started. About cost, about danger, about tragedy. Who wouldn’t pay a fortune to fix a tragedy? Also, about disability. It’s a fault, a deficit, something’s gone ‘wrong’, you’ll be told. Except it isn’t, any more than being gay is a fault and a deficit and an opportunity to cure. Groups tried that, too. Remember that being gay was in the mental health books, and people made a fortune out of ‘gay cure therapies’. Now those are being banned after the gay people said how much damage those therapies did. Guess what some autism ‘therapies’ are based on? Same techniques. But now used on people who can’t say that it hurts, or aren’t believed when they say it hurts.
Meantime, we have made society so bad for autistic people and the scaremongering so effective that our quality of life is often really awful. That’s not ‘autism’ that did that.
Instead, if you must hand over money, ensure that actual autistic specialists receive it. Or our allies. People who understand how to actually help your child, because we were once pretty much the same as your child. And we have spent decades in this trade, learning things that help.
Autistic people are not lab rats who exist so that shareholders can make money.
We define kids’ identities through the deficit and medical models, gloss over the structural problems they face, and then tell them to get some grit and growth mindset. This is gaslighting, an attempt to “overwrite another person’s reality“. It is abusive.
One of Reggio’s key aims is to look at what children can do, rather than what they can’t, and to break the image of the child as weak and incomplete. Children from all socioeconomic backgrounds attend Reggio Emilia schools and children with disabilities receive first priority and full mainstreaming under Italian law. Instead of being labeled “children with special needs” they are labeled “children with special rights.” Every child is seen in terms of the resources and potential they bring, rather than what’s missing.