Parents of autistic children deserve mercy

Parents of autistic children are doing the best with what they have. They deserve mercy — not continuous villainization.

The double empathy problem is the inability to understand the autistic life experience if you’re non-autistic yourself, and vice versa, by default. Autistic culture is different from non-autistic culture — from the food (safe foods) and non-verbal communication to language and and norms. Non-autistic people are not going to be able to understand autistic culture by default, and getting upset with them isn’t going to teach them better.

Tortoiseshell kitten in blue harness looking to side while standing in doorway of open front door
Parenting is terrifying, especially when there is a communication barrier between you and your child.

Parents of autistic children are tired, scared and worried about their autistic child’s future. They have a lot of questions they need answers to, and the top places that give them these answers are the organizations that harm autistic people.

Instead of approaching them with hostility and forcing autistic culture down their throats, we need to be merciful with them. The autistic children who have died at the hands of their non-autistic parents is tragic, and their names and stories will remain a part of autistic history forever.

However, the parents who killed their autistic children were doing the best with what they had. It is tragic and depressing and sad, and autistic people will always mourn them, but we cannot keep holding it against harried parents of autistic children if we want to drive real change.

No one is going to take anyone seriously when they’re being force fed everything they don’t believe in.

They, too, are the result of a system that failed them.

If we’re going to do better than those autism organizations, we need to be better.

For parents of autistic kids to listen to us, they need to put in the personal work. They’re not going to listen to you if they’re not ready. Forcing them to do so anyway isn’t going to create frequency bias — it’s going to build the army working against us.

The penultimate first step non-autistic parents of autistic children need to take is learning to see their autistic child as an individual person, not a puzzle with a missing piece.

It’s totally okay to back out of Twitter threads and conversations when your blood begins boiling and all hope feels lost. Acknowledging something isn’t good for your mental health, accepting that fact, and owning it speaks a lot about you as a person. If they take issue with that, it is a reflection of their own capacity and not yours.

Everyone is doing the best with what they have. 🤌

Struggling means they’re trying. Give them credit for that. ✨

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