Since I read the now deleted (by the commenter, when both Kieran aka The Autistic Advocate and I questioned them on it) comment on The Autistic Advocate’s Page, claiming that there is a fraud in the autistic community, I have been unable to stop thinking about it. I have googled the names of several well known autistic activists, with the word “fraud” at the end. Boy oh boy.
What I uncovered was just what I expected, except worse than I ever imagined. I’m not going to share the names of these activists as they have been subjected to enough abuse already. Anything from private and intimate images of them being shared by ex-boyfriends intent on smearing them, to whole blog sites stalker-ishly dedicated to “proving” these people are frauds. All based on so many assumptions and falsehoods about autism that I cannot take a single word seriously.
And what are these assumptions and falsehoods? Which are made by all the accusers, no matter who the accused happens to be.
“She has a mental illness but is pretending to be autistic because that’s trendy” She may have a mental illness as well, she may have been misdiagnosed with a mental illness before realising she was autistic, autism is not more “trendy” than having a mental illness. Why don’t you stop your armchair diagnosing and speculation and crawl into the sewer where you belong.
“Her childhood friends say she spoke just fine when younger so she can’t be a non-verbal autistic now” Buddy, you have no idea. Autistic regression exists. Burnout exists. Selective mutism exists. There have been times when I could barely string two words together. I can envision a time when that may happen again and for a longer duration of time. Funny but these same people have no trouble believing that a non-verbal autistic can learn to speak. If they were consistent, they should be insisting that those people were pretending to be non-verbal before they started speaking. Since our linguistic abilities are so static and all that.
“She is part of the Neurodiversity Conspiracy” This is usually followed by a rant about how these autistics are harming non-verbal children by being opposed to curebie rhetoric. And then a mention of Big Pharma that makes no sense to me.
“Her actions are more consistent with drug abuse” First of all, I have no time for people who shame others for using drugs. Secondly, they usually have no hard evidence that these people are/were “abusing” drugs. And thirdly, many autistic self-medicate with drugs. Using drugs in no way means you can’t be autistic.
“She disagreed with me and was abusive to me. She is not autistic, just a manipulative bitch” I’m not about to judge whether the accused are bitches or not. People fall out, disagree, have squabbles. But I will say this, you can be a manipulative bitch, and still be autistic. I’m sure many people think I’m a bitch, this does not make me any less autistic.
Note, I say “she” because invariably these “frauds” are female-presenting (and often have short and/or brightly coloured hair). Not saying autistic males don’t get accused of being frauds, as I did see one or two mentioned, but not to the same extent. And, so far, every single one of the accused has been in favour of The Neurodiversity Paradigm. Funny that. I can think of one or two “anti-Neurodiversity” autistics I could accuse of being frauds, but I won’t do that. Because it’s such an ableist thing to do. Other people’s diagnoses or lack thereof is no concern of mine.
And who are the accusers? They seem to be either ex-friends/ex-boyfriends who hold grudges, people who have a personal vendetta against the accused, or those (both autistic and NT) who are on a crusade against “Neurodiversity”. Not very inspiring of confidence in their accusations, are they?
And so, after intensive and obsessive searching, I’m hoping writing this blog post will lay this particular bee in my bonnet to rest. At the end of the day, I don’t actually care if these people are indeed frauds. I like their words, I like their thoughts and I like them as people. And rather than being the abusive, harmful people their accusers claim they are, their actions so far prove otherwise.