Someone asked me today to lay down two simple rules anyone could follow about how to be a good ally to disabled people, especially autistics.
Tall order. But I came up with this:
1. Talk to us or with us. Not at us. Neurotypicals have this tendency to project their so-called authority on all subjects, even those they’ve never experienced anything even remotely close. In this case, questions are fine, but remember, your are the audience, not the speaker.
2. Listen. How many times to I have to stress this? And I don’t limit “listening” to just hearing words coming out of our mouths or communicators. I mean read what we type, watch our hands sign, whatever we prefer. And don’t think any of those are worth any less than talking just because they’re unfamiliar.
That’s all I have. What would your two rules be for smoothest communication between autistics and neurotypicals when talking about mental disability and autism?