Dear autism parent,

I don’t know what it’s like to be you. I’m not a parent. I don’t have any children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I don’t know what it was like for my parents when I was growing up. I don’t have your lived experience.

You often say that your most fervent wish is to hear your child speak. It doesn’t really matter what they will say, although “I love you” is at the top of the list. Words, they’re so important. Meaningful words. I get that. They’re important to me too.

But what will happen when your child actually gets to the point where they are able to communicate verbally, reliably?

Do you think they will no longer need help with all the other aspects of an autism diagnosis?

Because as soon as your child learns how to speak…

Whenever they will want to talk about their challenges…

About their lived experience as an autistic child…

They will be silenced by others who say that they are not autistic enough to know what it’s like.

Your child will be told to shut up.

After all, they know how to speak. They could never be as autistic as someone else’s non-verbal child. Another parent will do to your child what you are doing to other people’s children when you tell them they have no idea what it’s like, because they are able to communicate verbally. No matter what their other challenges are. Their experience with autism.

Is that what you want?

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