Do you know what pisses me off the most about the dreaded “Autism Moms”?
Let me tell you, as an autistic adult who also was a main caregiver for an autistic boy (my brother).
For the record: I swear that if you use this post to say autism makes people violent and abusive, I will send 12,000 angry geese to flock in your bedroom and destroy every item that you treasure the most. AND I will eat the leftovers you had planned on eating for lunch tomorrow. Don’t you fuckin dare miss the point of this post.
Listen up. I got a story for you.
Bit of background first.
My boy, my little hobbit, was born when I was ten years old. My mother left him alone with my grandparents and me. She legit abandoned him.
My grandparents weren’t sure they could take him in.
I begged. I pleaded. I asked as hard as I could to let us keep him and not give him back to my mother.
Of course, they said yes.
I dutifully became the protective older sister.
I would bathe him up until the week I left for college. I measured his medications and crushed them into his favorite yogurt. Blue, if you were curious.I made sure his food was perfect - french fries made just like he wanted, a chicken fry sandwich complete with his favorite McDonald’s sauce we bought in bulk.
I went to his speech and occupational therapies several times a week, and practiced the things he learned. I went with him to his first day of school.
I even did a middle school project all about autism (which I am slightly embarrassed about, as I mentioned A$ in it ugh). I read all the autism books a 12 year old could find, and immersed myself in the Vanderbilt paperwork. I delved into the world of IEPs, visual schedules, and basic sign language.
And now, I’m still sending them resources and information on medications, papers for teachers, and going over doctor notes for him - despite being six hours away.
(Of course, I was an undiagnosed autistic girl who also needed quiet. When I wasn’t needed to do these things, I was often in my room away from the loud television and people. I wasn’t a perfect caregiver, but I did do a lot.)
All of that to say: yeah, it wasn’t easy. But since when is raising a kid ever easy? I started looking after this boy when I was ten years old.
But here’s what infuriates me.
I read all the time about these autism moms who complain about how terrible their lives are. They say they’re afraid of being hurt and their lives are destroyed. Some even talk about killing their kids.
You know what?
Yeah, I got hurt by him or when helping him. I got bit, scratched, hit, and everything else. Usually it was just him being frustrated over lack of communicating his needs, so I was rarely angry.
I ran after him when he went out the door straight for a lawnmower and I fell to the concrete. I grabbed him right before he ran into a street and ended up with my arm covered in blood.
I was kicked in the head and given a traumatic brain injury that requires me to now use a cane, and has caused a ton of nervous system issues. I even use a wheelchair part-time due to another condition that occurred afterwards. I’m only 20, and my health is pretty comparable to someone with congestive heart failure.
And you know what?
I never in a million years thought about hurting my little brother.
I still don’t blame him. He was often overwhelmed, and had meltdowns. As an autistic person myself, I understood it - even if I didn’t know I was autistic at the time. (I suspected, but was too focused on other things.)
I don’t know if I’ll ever get better health-wise, and that’s okay. I don’t know if I’ll get to run and dance again, or if there’s worse effects to come. It’s just what it is, and I’ve accepted that.
He’s a child. It’s not his fault. He once asked me if it was, and I hugged him tight and said absolutely not.
I say all this not to demonstrate how violent autistic people can be, but to demonstrate that I get where these autism moms are coming from.
Again, for the record, autistic people are far more likely to be abused and assaulted.
Remember how I said I get where they’re coming from?
Yeah, that’s still not an excuse to be harmful toward your child. Ever.
You don’t give your babies bleach, shock them, or starve them. You don’t talk about them as if they’re literally a death sentence for you. And you sure as hell don’t want to murder your little ones.
And if you literally want to kill your kid, if you would rather have a dead child than an autistic one, I have news for you.
You don’t deserve that child, and you better back up and understand this.
You autism moms need to stop. You need to listen.
Your kids are going through a world that wants to “cure” them, force them into suffering so they can look “normal.” Your kids are going to spend their entire lives dealing with a world that is hostile to them. People try to assimilate us to save their own pride, at the expense of our own comfort and stability.
Your kid is going to go through life being told that they should be literally “treated” with electroshock therapy because of their neurology. They’re going to be told that they shouldn’t reproduce. They’re going to be told that they’re not worth having space in this world. Your kid is going to grow up one day, and they’re going to hear this and internalize it.
I know that, because that’s what I hear every day.
You say it’s so hard to have an autistic kid?
Well, of course it is. But you know what?
Kids are hard.
They’re going to kick, hit, pinch, and everything else. Even neurotypical kids do that. I don’t know a single kid who hasn’t bit their caregiver or thrown something when grumpy.
(I’ll say it again for those in the back: autistic kids are way way way more likely to be abused and hurt.)
When you have a kid, you sign up for this. You love that little one unconditionally, you protect them with all your heart. You give them support. You love that child even if they have a disability, especially when they have a disability.
You teach them that they are allowed to exist, that they are just as valuable and needed in this world like anyone else. We need all the neurodiversity in this world we can get.
You teach your child that they’re not a burden. You teach them how to say no and that autonomy is often more important than compliance. You teach them that you love them, and that they will always have someone in their corner to back them up when times are tough.
I don’t care how hard you think it is raise an autistic child.
Trust me, I know full well it’s hard. Parenting is hard. It’s not easy, and it’s not always roses and fluffy kittens. That has nothing to do with having an autistic kid; that’s just a fact of life.
The fear of getting hurt is valid. I can attest to that, and I don’t think I can downplay that. But that behavior is communication, and you have to learn how to read it. I did. You have to fight for better supports, for ways to make it easier on your kid - and by doing this, easier for you too.
Sure, it’s hard.
But you know what? Your kid’s going to have it much harder.