neurodivergent k

Trans and autistic?

There’s a (fairly) new blog which you should definitely check out.

It’s a space for autistic trans/NB people to ask for advice, ask questions, and also for some positivity! Allistic people and cis people are allowed to follow, just be respectful. 

https://trans-and-autistic.tumblr.com/

(Mod K is also a Mod on this blog)

anonymous asked:

I'm very sorry if this is gonna sound awful but I wanted to ask this to an autistic person for a long time and I just finished reading "Silent Voice", so I wanted your answer. I am a bit Ableist but I'm trying to overcome this (if you could help with this too that would be awesome). Nonetheless, I don't know if I'd have the patience to care for an autistic child if I had one. What should I do? I'm scared that I'd end up hating them if I'd try to raise one, and they wouldn't deserve it.

Hi!

We live in a deeply ableist world, so it’s only natural for us to have ableist beliefs inside us. I used to have a lot of them, and most of them got worked out as I spent time studying feminism and going on Tumblr. (I’m sure there are some still there that I haven’t weeded out yet.)

Just because you have some still-remaining ableism doesn’t mean that you’re like Angel or Mr. White or Susanna from Silent Voice. You’re doing something that they would never do: reading a story by an autistic person, and finding an autistic person’s blog to ask questions. There’s a huge difference between you and them: you’re open to listening and learning (and seek out opportunities to do so), while they refuse to listen to new ideas because they convinced themselves that they know everything already.

If I were to gauge your resemblance to various Silent Voice parents, I’d compare you to Ava’s mom: a bit confused about what autism entails, but caring and wanting to help (which kids notice). And very much capable of becoming a John Fields type of awesome parent.

Here are some facts you might find helpful to know:

  • Only 1 in 68 kids are autistic. So there’s not even a very high chance that this will happen in your family.
  • Not all autistic kids have high support needs. According to my dad (who did most of the child-raising work), I was a pretty easy kid to raise. Easier than your average kid; I was a good listener and eager to please.
  • Claire from Silent Voice was on the extreme end of difficult childhoods, due to her awful past. She was dealing with PTSD, vivid nightmares, memories of abuse by her birth parents and therapists, and all kinds of emotional damage. Had her adoptive dads raised her from the start, she would have been a much calmer and happier child.
  • Kids with high support needs can be loving, caring, amazing children. I believe Neurodivergent K has a post on her work with “emotionally disturbed” children, and while it’s not identical to autism, it’s worth a read.
  • Autistic kids can be really playful, creative, adventurous, and happy. I see a lot of stories like this from blogs like Diary of a Mom, Love Explosions, Emma’s Hope Book, and all kinds of blogs by parents. Autistic kids have good days and can make their parents smile!
  • If autistic kids are listened to, kept safe from harm (including sensory harm), encouraged to set healthy boundaries, and treated well, they can have really happy childhoods. I did. I’ve never had a full-on crying/screaming/out-of-control meltdown, perhaps for this reason. Dad would step in and help before life could get bad enough to scream about.
  • There are resources for parents who need help, from respite care (really simple, my parents use it with my sister so they can have a date night) to placing the child for adoption (extreme). If you were to need something like that, you could search online and find help.
  • Non-autistic kids can be difficult too! Screaming in public, refusing to listen, stealing, being mean to other children, etc., are all not-that-uncommon problems in non-autistic children. Kids are a handful, and that’s a natural part of childhood. My non-autistic siblings gave my parents plenty of grief.

You seem like a good person who likes to be informed. If you did end up having an autistic child, here’s what I’m guessing would actually happen:

  • You’d reach out to autistics via #AskAnAutistic, blogs, Twitter, whatever, and ask questions when you had them.
  • You’d read wikiHow articles and blog posts and essays about raising autistic children well, and you’d learn from them and try out the tips.
  • You’d learn about all the common mistakes that parents make with autistic kids, and avoid them, helping your child’s self-esteem and overall well-being.
  • You’d network with other positive parents of autistic kids.
  • You’d listen closely to your kid, encouraging them to communicate, and honoring what they say.
  • You’d celebrate every milestone. “My kid was assertive today!”
  • You’d sigh on the hard days, and say “I need a break.” You’d text another parent friend “parenting is hard sometimes,” and they’d text you a photo of a juice spill on their brand new rug, and say “no duh.” Because no parent has an easy job.
  • You’d ask loved ones to babysit, and get respite care, when you needed time to unwind. For friends who want to babysit but worry “what if I break the kid?” you encourage them to play with the kid while you relax in the next room.
  • You’d cherish your kid’s strengths and interests, and encourage them to build upon them.
  • You’d sit across a coffee table with an autistic friend of yours, explaining your fears that you aren’t being a good enough parent. They’d smile, pat your hand, and tell you that you worry too much and your kid is doing just fine.

Why do I say this? Because your ask tells me that you’re a very caring and conscientious person, possibly one who worries a little too much. (It takes one to know one. I worry WAY too much, often about things that are extremely unlikely to happen.)

Un-learning society’s ableist messages takes time. Be gentle on yourself, and keep reading and asking questions and learning. Worried about being unprepared for the realities of parenting? That’s okay! That means you probably aren’t ready to have kids.

I’m not ready for an autistic kid either. I’m young, I’m not able to take care of myself, I’m not ready to handle a needy kid (autistic or not), and I don’t even want to be a parent. So I don’t worry about parenting because it’s not happening in the next 5 years. (Or in my case, ever. I’m shooting for dog ownership.)

In short:

  • Keep reading about disability and ableism, and be patient with yourself. It’s okay not to be perfect right away.
  • Being imperfect doesn’t equal being like Mr. White or Mrs. Brown. They’re on a level that is very, very different from yours.
  • Autistic kids aren’t as hard to raise as you probably think they are. They also have tons of positive traits, like all kids do.
  • A caring, conscientious person like you could come up with a good action plan and do a good job. (Have faith in your future ability to handle challenges. You don’t need to plan it all out today.)
  • If you’re not ready for a needy child… easy solution is don’t have kids yet. And then stop worrying about your future hypothetical children today, because that’s for a later stage of life (if ever, depending on your preferences).
  • It’s going to be okay, really.

I hope this helps! It sounds to me like things aren’t quite as bad as the scary parts of the brain are telling you they are, so you can relax a little and give yourself a reality check.

Oh, and for other people who might be wondering: Silent Voice is a story on Wattpad. Full disclosure, I wrote it, and it’s rated 16+.