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 wasten 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 wayway 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.
my good friend @lena221b recently reminded me of a series of drabbles i wrote in response to anon asks aaaaages ago. i couldn’t find the original posts (we’re talking years ago, that’s too much scrolling for one mortal girl) so i decided to lump them all together here. the following are a few short snippets of derek and stiles’ life together. in my head they’re all part of the same universe. enjoy!
“I dream about riding you sometimes.”
Derek drops Stiles flat on his face.
Stiles doesn’t seem to notice, just tries to roll himself back over. ‘Tries’ being the operative word, because he somehow manages to get himself tangled in his hoodie and then he’s just struggling on the ground with his head trapped in the sleeve.
Ordinarily Derek would help him, would feel guilty about dropping him in the first place, but right now he’s too preoccupied with choking on his own spit.
Stiles fights his way out of his clothing and gazes up at Derek.
“You’re so big though, I’m not even sure I could get my legs around you.”
Can werewolves go into cardiac arrest? Because it’s happening, Derek’s pretty sure it’s happening.
“And you’re so strong, too. I bet I could just climb up on there and you could keep going for hours.”
Stiles smacks his lips and wiggles on the forest floor and seems completely unconcerned with the way Derek’s world is rearranging itself around him.
“Such a scary wolfy,” Stiles mumbles, eyelashes fluttering. “You’re also really fluffy though.” He reaches out and starts patting Derek’s boot. “Preeeetty.”
Derek steps carefully away from Stiles and smashes his head into the nearest tree. A cut appears on his eyebrow and then heals before he’s even wiped the blood away. Because Stiles is talking about riding Derek in his wolf form. Like he’s some kind of glorified pony. And Derek is so pathetically gone on this boy that he’d let him. He’d growl and snarl and snap his jaws and then he’d get down on his haunches and carry Stiles wherever he wanted to go.
He’s absolutely, definitively not disappointed that Stiles isn’t talking about riding him in his human form because that would be gross and creepy and taking advantage of Stiles’ intoxicated state.
Right, Stiles, who is drunk, and burrowing into a pile of leaves.
Derek sighs at his life and stomps over to pick Stiles up again.
“Whoa, spinny!” Stiles shrieks and clutches at Derek’s collar. When he’s got his feet back under himself he looks around and frowns. “Nooo, no standing, it’s nap time.”
“It’s three o’clock in the morning,” Derek grumbles.
“Which is why it’s nap time,” Stiles insists, like it wasn’t his idea to get smashed in the woods in the middle of the night like an utter moron.
“You can sleep back at the loft, okay?” Derek bargains, wrapping an arm around Stiles’ waist and hauling him forward.
“Mmm your bed,” Stiles groans, stuffing his face into Derek’s neck. “Been trying to get into your bed for months.”
Derek drops Stiles flat on his face.
The first time Stiles walks into Derek’s loft and finds him cooking he’s so stunned that he forgets to actually stop walking and crashes into a table.
Derek raises an eyebrow without looking away from where he’s blanching (blanching) vegetables. Once Stiles has stopped rolling around on the floor he uses two bar stools to pull himself right-side-up and brushes himself off as nonchalantly as he can manage.
“You cook?” he asks, trying his hardest not to appear incredulous, but Derek is wearing oven mitts so it’s not really going too well.
Derek levels him with his patented ‘why am I dating an idiot?’ look. It’s very, very flat.
“Yes, Stiles, I can cook,” he says, and pokes at something sizzling in a pan. Stiles boggles. Derek raises his other eyebrow this time. “Why is this shocking? You know I eat.”
“Well, yeah, objectively,” Stiles agrees. “I just always assumed you lived off a diet of Hot Pockets, squirrels, and the tears of your enemies.”
So very flat.
“Well, I’d hate to disappoint. I’ll throw this in the bin and then head out to rustle up some woodland creatures.” He goes to turn off the burner and Stiles dives across the kitchen.
"No, no, no. This is good. This is — What is this?” Stiles takes a whiff and just about hits the floor again. “Oh god, feed me.”
(Stiles can cook too, but his speciality is sweet things. Derek couldn’t bake a cake to save his life. They’re a match made in culinary heaven.)
"No,” Derek says sternly, giving Stiles everything his eyebrows have to offer. “Absolutely not.”
“What! Derek, come on, you know you want one,” Stiles wheedles, waggling his own eyebrows at Derek. He looks ridiculous and definitely not appealing.
“I have my hands full enough just trying to look after you.”
"Hey!” Stiles squawks. “I resent that! I am a fully functioning adult, thank you very much,” he says, puffing himself up.
All Derek has to do is glance pointedly at the thing curled up in Stiles’ arms and he puffs right back down again.
“I’ll keep her at my place! You won’t even know she’s there. I’ll take such good care of her, I swear.” Derek remains unmoved. Stiles pulls out the big guns. “Babe, please.” Damn him. “Just look at that face. You can’t say no to that face.”
The thing is, Derek is dangerously close to letting slip just how true that is. He’ll never be able to say no to Stiles. He might put up a token protest, but Derek knows that the second Stiles asks him for anything he’s already screwed.
And right now Stiles isn’t pulling his punches either. He’s got the big eyes and the pouty lips and his neck stretched out at the most perfect angle and Derek’s ready to fall to his knees and offer Stiles everything.
Except, what, no, not this time, Stiles is starting to make him legitimately insane.
“Who are you?! Hagrid?!” he exclaims. “Put the dragon down, Stiles.”
Stiles pulls this heartbroken face, and Derek is almost swayed except dragon.
“But she’s just a baby!” Stiles wails. “She doesn’t know how to look after herself.”
“She just singed off Scott’s eyebrows,” Derek says flatly. “I think she’ll be fine.”
(On the walk back to the Jeep Derek offers to buy Stiles a cat in place of the dragon, because they’re basically the same thing anyway and Derek is a sucker.)
“I told you not to do it,” Derek sing-songs, condescendingly, not even looking up from his book. The ass.
“No you didn’t,” Stiles moans from his place on the couch. He removes his arm from his face to glare weakly at said ass. “You said, ‘As if you’d ever get your nipple pierced’. Which was basically a direct challenge. Which means of course I did it.”
Derek doesn’t even stop reading to roll his eyes at Stiles. He just kind of widens them slightly with a long-suffering look on his face. The ass.
"This is entirely your fault,” Stiles whines. Derek doesn’t respond at all.
Stiles wriggles around making pitiful noises until Derek snaps his book shut with a growl. “What.”
“It hurts,” Stiles sniffles.
“Well that’s because you poked a piece of metal through your flesh,” Derek bitches, but he gets up and walks over to the couch anyway. He lifts Stiles’ legs and settles himself down, Stiles’ thighs splayed across his lap. Then he curls his hand around Stiles’ knee and begins leeching his pain.
“Better?” he asks, and Stiles hums in the back of his throat, his eyes fluttering shut.
He’s just about to drop off the edge of consciousness when something hot and wet envelops his nipple. Stiles jerks violently and finds Derek staring up at him from his chest, eyes dancing. He grins wickedly and flicks his tongue against the bar and Stiles melts.
(Derek ends up loving Stiles’ nipple piercing. Stiles lords it over him for months until Derek comes home with a piercing in a much more sensitive place. Stiles’ mouth is busy doing other things after that.)
Derek went into this relationship with Stiles with his eyes wide open. Which basically meant he was expecting a lot of sex, because every second word out of the kid’s mouth was innuendo and he smelled constantly turned-on. And Stiles did not disappoint. There was a lot of sex. A lot.
Derek was not expecting the cuddling. But five months in Derek’s beginning to wonder if Stiles is actually a were-octopus and just hasn’t told him yet.
No matter how aggressively he spoons Stiles when they’re drifting off to sleep, he’ll always wake up buried under warm, clingy boy.
When Derek joined the Stilinski’s in visiting the Sheriff’s mother over Thanksgiving, he passed out alone on the couch and woke to Stiles wrapped around him, his face shoved under a throw pillow.
Stiles holds him in the shower, tucks Derek under his arm at pack movie nights, plasters himself to Derek’s back in the kitchen when he’s soft and tired-eyed.
The first time Stiles grabbed Derek’s hip and rested his head on Derek’s shoulder while they were both brushing their teeth Derek spent two whole minutes staring at him in the mirror. The first time. Now it feels weird whenever he’s not lopsided during his entire morning routine.
For years after Kate, Derek was uncomfortable being touched. Other people’s hands made his blood pump harder and his breathing turn shallower and his muscles coil up. Now, the safest he ever feels is when Stiles’ arms are snug around his heart.
-“You’re going to save them and for what? They don’t appreciate you!”
-“You spill your blood for this city/village and for what? So they can never know the name of the man/woman who saved their miserable lives?”
-“How many times are you going to bleed for them?”
-“Aren’t you tired yet? Haven’t you had enough?”
-“Despair, misery, and chaos. It’s like air to me. But to watch them suffer is much more entertaining.”
-“Look at their miserable lives and tell me what you see. They’re just begging for you to end them.”
-“You’re conflicted I can see it. You don’t want to be the hero but you’re not evil enough to be the villain. So what are you?”
-“You can’t be nothing because you have to be something.”
-“You can’t be nobody you have to be somebody. They need you. Help them.”
-“You’ve shed enough blood. It’s time to stop. You’ve avenged their deaths enough.”
-“You’ve fought until your face was bloody, your ribs cracked, and your soul broken. How much more can you give to them!”
-“You won’t be satisfied until your dead.”
-“This city/village has torn you apart. They don’t deserve anymore saving.”
-“You’d give your soul to them? They won’t ever be satisfied until you’re dead.”
-“You give and you give and give when is it your turn to take?”
-“You’ll burn this city/village to the ground. Murder its people. And then will you be satisfied?”
-“I can’t watch you tear yourself apart anymore for these people.”
-“You’ve been caught. There’s nothing more you can do so why are you still fighting?”
-“It’s over. It was a long war filled with countless bodies and bloodshed. So stop…it’s over.”
-“I know you. You aren’t this terrible person people see you as and made you become. There’s still some light within you. I see it…”
-“What has the world done to you to make you feel this broken that you feel the need to hurt other people?”
-“You hurt others because they hurt you.”
-“I can see the torment within you. I can especially tell by the way you mangle the bodies of your enemies.”
-“You don’t owe people anything else.”
-“You’re like the sun and moon. You can either be the light that guides peoples lives to a better world. Or you can be the moon and darken their world. Or- you can be an eclipse and be a little bit of both good and evil.”
-“What do YOU want to become?”
-“You’re the only one who can give others hope.”
-“If it wasn’t for you we’d all be dead.”
-“The histories will never know who really saved us because he/she didn’t want to be known as a hero.”
-“Don’t die for our selfish selves.”
-“You brought this upon yourself.”
-“You can either save lives or take them. So which is it? Who will you become?”
-“You say you’d burn the city/village to the ground. But what happens when you’re standing on a pile of ash and smoke with no subjects to rule?”
-“Your mentor molded you to be a monster.”
-“Your mentor molded you to be a beckon of hope for others.”
-“They will never bow to you.”
-“You’re nothing but a usurper from a foreign place to us. We will never call you King/Queen.”
-“You hide behind a mask all the time and I don’t mean the one upon your face.”
-“Of all the things to have happened to you are you still capable of love?”
-“You were born a villain but you will die a hero.”
-“You were born a hero but will die a villain.”
-“You’ve changed since we first met. You’re becoming something I don’t recognize anymore.”
-“You’re no longer a man. You’re a beast.”
-“Greatness was thrust upon you but you decided not to take it. Why?”
-“We don’t choose these roles they just happen.”
-“I won’t watch you die.”
-“What are you fighting for?”
-“Fates can be changed there’s still time.”
-“Your fate isn’t set in stone.”
-“There’s pain in my chest every time I see you in anguish.”
-“You never meant anything to them. So you turned into the thing they feared the most to leave an impression upon them.”
-“I wish you could see your worth.”
-“Your life is not worth the weight of gold they will pay you for helping them.”
-“I won’t watch you become someone I don’t recognize.”
-“I can’t even say who are you becoming because I don’t even know what you are anymore.
-"When they write of your history they will say it began on this day.”
-“Your scars are a reminder of who you were. So never forget who bled for this village/city. Who it was that saved the damned and the good. Who it was that almost died for them. Who it was that became a legend in their eyes. A legend to be remembered a thousand years from now.”
overcome - laura mvula ft. nile rodgers || 1000 deaths - d’angelo & the vanguard || cold war - janelle monáe || black man in a white world - michael kiwanuka || two hearts - valerie june || munayé (my muna) - mulatu astatke || on & on - erykah badu || black is the color of my true love’s hair - nina simone || killing me softly - the fugees || ain’t no grave can hold my body down - sister rosetta tharpe || don’t wish me well - solange || river - leon bridges || who tells your story - the roots ft. common, ingrid michaelson ||
BONUS: ***flawless - beyoncé ft chimamanda ngozi adichie