#SiblingProblems: Autistic Edition

When you are Autistic you need a lot of support — and not just the support you get from the OPWDimwits. But the outside sources important as well such as friends and most importantly family. As an Autistic person, getting support from your family isn’t always very easy. Nine times out of ten you’re the one Autistic person in a family of ables. Sometimes they get it, sometimes not so much. My biggest support — despite all the arguments we have, is my mom. She knows where I’m coming from and what I go through because she’s the one always calling people for me to get help from a lot of places which often end up being a dead end. She also has my bluntness, stubbornness, and ability to get angry very easily. Mixed bag for advocating, worse when you’re home and she doesn’t like the way you do things. But, that’s not our topic for today. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I had a younger sister. She is an able like the rest of my family. Today, I posted something on social media and my NT sister told me to take it down. I said, “why”? She felt I was being ‘disrespectful’ to the current civil rights issues and said they are two different things. I took it down in exchange for helping my #reviseADA movement get underway. She didn’t realize, like all the other ignorant ables I speak to, that the ADA doesn’t protect those with developmental disabilities. She thought all the accommodations I couldn’t get, especially tutoring were ‘just mine’. It just felt like any other previous talks about my problems finishing college — lost in translation leading to a lot of ‘hidden ableism’. She, like many other people don’t realize that if your disability involves a difference in communication, tutoring is very necessary and being able to live on campus despite being a part time student is too. Because if your school is in a town with a lack of public transportation, it shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice your academic and mental well being just to have a place to live. Not right! Not every Autistic person can handle a full course load! It can be EXTREMELY overwhelming. If everything in your textbook is in some fancy jargon that you have to read three times to understand you DEFINITELY need the extra time to calm down before switching between that one subject and another. Getting confused about the material can be VERY draining on an Autistic student’s mind. So yes we learn slower, but it’s not our fault. — It’s just that you silly ables like to let that fancy title, that you’ve graduated with on your sheepskin, get to your head and like to show off your knowledge by using big words and fancy sounding sentences! Ugh! Simplese please! If college materials were very straight forward without being vague at the same time it would be SO much easier! But, you know the ables and their weird minds. They like to make it much harder for everyone and if you fail, too bad! They’re going to take your money like the whammy on Press Your Luck. These are the issues most ables like my sister don’t see causing the constant struggle of being heard and getting accommodations for our academic needs. The most we get is either a note taker or extended time on tests in a room without distractions. Nobody sticks up for us when our test is on a day the disability office is closed and can’t be accommodated. Nobody sticks up for us if a professor says an Ableist remark to our moms, on the phone behind our backs or to our face during a private orientation. (Yes, I’m talking about you Mr. Chairman of SUNY Delhi’s Vet tech department. Saying “If you go part time you won’t remember it all.” That’s ableism and you got away with it!) So since my sister’s perspective is a put up or shut up attitude like everyone else I’ve dealt with on this already difficult journey, how can she help me out? There’s no support. It’s just my friends, Mamma Duke, and me.

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