Autism Warrior Parent

Autism Warrior Parents (AWPs) insist on supporting their autistic kids either by trying to cure them, or by imposing non-autistic-oriented goals on them — rather than by trying to understand how their kids are wired.

How ‘Autism Warrior Parents’ Harm Autistic Kids | by Shannon Des Roches Rosa | The Establishment

Autism Warrior Parents aren’t limited to the typical post-Jenny McCarthy-era diehards who — despite the unequivocal debunking of any link between autism and vaccines — still consider their autistic kids vaccine-damaged rather than, in the words of writer and autistic parent Carol Greenburg, “neurologically outnumbered.” They also include those who fund or promote questionable autism science, and parents who consider their children so impaired that the opinions and personal experiences of autistic activists are irrelevant to them — that, in other words, any autistic adult who can put words on a screen or speak must have fewer support needs than their own autistic children and should therefore be ignored. At the root, Autism Warrior Parents are those who, for whatever reason, refuse to accept their autistic child’s actual reality and needs, and instead put their energies into absolute change or control of that child.

AWP insistence on battling rather than comprehending autism derails both autism conversations and autistic lives. When AWPs focus on the “difficulty” of their children’s behaviors rather than on the reasons for those behaviors (usually sensory or processing triggers common to autistic people of all abilities), they reinforce unhelpful assumptions that autism is a mystery, and a horrible parental burden. The reality is that autistic people, like anyone else with a disability, function best when given appropriate accommodations.AWPs have also turned the internet into an autism information minefield, which is especially frustrating given that online resources are often invaluable for families who lack access to therapists, specialists, and other key resources.

AWP insistence on battling rather than comprehending autism derails both autism conversations and autistic lives. When AWPs focus on the “difficulty” of their children’s behaviors rather than on the reasons for those behaviors (usually sensory or processing triggers common to autistic people of all abilities), they reinforce unhelpful assumptions that autism is a mystery, and a horrible parental burden. The reality is that autistic people, like anyone else with a disability, function best when given appropriate accommodations.

AWPs have also turned the internet into an autism information minefield, which is especially frustrating given that online resources are often invaluable for families who lack access to therapists, specialists, and other key resources.

How ‘Autism Warrior Parents’ Harm Autistic Kids | by Shannon Des Roches Rosa | The Establishment

AWP insistence on battling rather than comprehending autism derails both autism conversations and autistic lives.

How ‘Autism Warrior Parents’ Harm Autistic Kids | by Shannon Des Roches Rosa | The Establishment

I suspect the main problem with Autism Warrior Parents is that, in treating autism as something to “fight” or “defeat,” they commit themselves to battle with an important part of their own child’s life. Enmeshed in fear and loathing toward autism, they condition themselves to forget that their children are fully human, and that humans respond best to compassion. If you want to avoid the AWP pitfalls, you can start by being kind to yourself, so that you can share that kindness with your autistic children.

How ‘Autism Warrior Parents’ Harm Autistic Kids | by Shannon Des Roches Rosa | The Establishment
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Published by Ryan Boren

#ActuallyAutistic parent and retired tech worker. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they

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