Coming Clean

This is a post where I decide to come clean.  I realize that this may destroy my credibility, but I just want to be honest.  One year ago, I wrote a paper and did a presentation on how autism is not a disability.

I hope you don’t stop reading there, because that is honestly what I thought at the time because I needed to think that.  My definition of disability was influenced by my time being a special education teacher (both in college and in the actual teaching) and it was a terrible, horrible definition: disability, at that time to me, was a bad thing.

But I don’t think that anymore.  My view of disability was the bad thing, not disability itself.  My thought process was that disability is a bad thing, autism is not a bad thing, therefore, autism is not a disability.

After writing that paper and doing that presentation, I met my thesis advisor who encouraged me to read Paul Heilker and Melanie Yergeau’s article “Autism and Rhetoric.”  As I was reading through it, I began to realize that my definition of disability is fucked up.  I needed to change how I viewed autism, but I especially had to change how I viewed disability.

The neurodiversity movement seems to be saying that disability and different neurological wiring are a naturally occurring diversity that must be accepted and embraced in much the same way as race, religion, etc.

I feel terrible for the way I thought of disability and I just want to say that I’m disabled and there is NOTHING wrong with that!

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