This post is a part of today’s “Autistic people are . . .” flashblog. You may have seen the news this week that Google has promised to eliminate the problematic “Autistic people should” autocompletes in response to last week’s flashblog. They’ve said it will take time to engineer, so while the hateful autocompletes are still appearing, hopefully they’ll soon be gone.
We can make a difference by speaking up.
Autistic people are everywhere.
We sit next to you at school and on the bus. We give your dog his rabies shot, teach your kids, make your latte and sweep the floor at your grocery store. We pass you on the sidewalk and stand beside you on the subway. We eat in the same restaurants, shop in the same stores, go to the same gyms that you do.
We are mothers and fathers, husbands, wives and partners. We are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
We are everywhere, all around you.
If you don’t see us, it’s because we’ve mastered the art of hiding in plain sight.
We don’t come neatly labeled. Many of us don’t “look” autistic. You can interact with us and not realize you’ve talked to, worked with, studied with, played with, cursed out, fallen in love with, or are related to an autistic person.
We often don’t share our neurological status unless we feel that we absolutely have too, and even then sometimes we don’t.
There is no payoff for calling attention to our differences. There is no reward for being openly autistic. The risks are real.
Many of us remain quietly, even silently, autistic.
We are everywhere, sitting beside you, walking past you, interacting with you. Do you see us?