These Are All The Things My Parent’s Ableism Robbed From Me

There have been many posts from parents lamenting the things that their child’s disability apparently “robbed” them of.  Every child deserves to be treated with love, acceptance, respect and dignity by their parents.  When your child is Autistic, that does not mean you get a “pass” on those things.  Having a disabled child will only “rob” you if you insist on measuring your child’s worth based on how well they can do things just like everybody else.   Disability will not “rob” you, but unchecked ableism certainly will rob both you and your child of a beautiful and loving relationship.

Textured multicolored background with white text that reads:

Textured multicolored background with white text that reads: “Having a disabled child will only “rob” you if you insist on measuring your child’s worth based on how well they can do things just like everybody else.”

These Are The Things My Parent’s Ableism Robbed From Me:

Pride & Self Esteem

My parents think that disability is shameful.  They use words like “differently abled” to describe me because they think that calling me disabled is an insult.  They do not have many Disabled friends, so they do not know there is such a thing as disability pride.

They are always apologizing for the things I can’t do, or for the things that make me look different.  It makes me feel ashamed to be who I am.  Every time I am made to feel ashamed instead of proud, I am learning internalized ableism.

A Childhood

My parents put me in therapies that will make me “indistinguishable”, that train me how to make eye contact and act more like non Autistic children.   These therapies teach me how to pretend and how to lie about who I really am.  They teach me that my body and mind are not my own, and that my natural way of being in this world, my ways of coping are wrong.  When I say “no”, I am “noncompliant”.  Adults can do whatever they want to me and it’s my job to let them.

Though I would like to play and learn in my own way, in my own time, I am in therapies every day so I have little time left to myself.  I go to school, I go to therapy, and I have  few opportunities to learn by exploring and following my own interests.


My parent’s ableism tells them that they are saintly and “special” for raising me.  I see disabled children killed or abused by their parents or caregivers on the news all the time, and people defending them because the child was like me.  I am constantly bombarded with messages that kids like me are a burden and that parents like mine are “special people” for putting up with me.  It makes me think that killing me or hurting me is something that people should expect.  Loving me is something that only a “special person” can do.

My parents talk about how much I cost, and how much stress I put on them.  They talk about all the things that I need help with, as if they are personality flaws.  My very existence is a problem that they wish they could solve.  It is hard to feel like I have value as I am when everyone is always complaining about what I cost and measuring how much my life is worth based on the amount of help and support I need.

A Place In My Community

When I go to school, I am taught in a separate room away from most other kids.  I can join in the “regular” classrooms when I am able to perform as not Autistic/Disabled well enough.  Everyone talks about  maybe someday “mainstreaming” me, but I would rather be accepted and supported in an inclusive environment.  Those are things that I hear are too hard for people to do.  It’s too much work to include me, they say.

My parents are afraid to take me places because I might embarrass them or act up.  They say they wish they could go to nice restaurants or vacations but they can’t because of me.   I think that if they would try to understand and support me, we could do those things though.  Maybe instead of going to a loud restaurant with too many decorations on the wall, too many tables close together, we could go to a quieter place or maybe go to eat at a quieter time when less people are there, but they don’t think to do those things.  They are just mad that it’s too hard for me to be around lots of noise and smells and people, so they keep me isolated at home.  They blame me for being disabled, but not their own lack of creativity or empathy.


Because of my parent’s ableism, they think that friendships can only look one way.  They do not understand that sometimes it’s easier for me to be friends with someone older or younger than me.  They do not want me to be friends with other Autistic people, especially those that they think are not “high functioning” enough.  They don’t know that those labels hurt us because their ableism makes sure they don’t think to talk to Autistic people.

Instead of being allowed to pursue my own friends, my parents want me to have a “peer buddy”.  A “peer” is not the same as a friend, but that does not matter to them.  My “peer buddy” gets to know all sorts of private information about me that I did not consent to sharing.  My “peer buddy” will model social skills and be a helper, but will not think that I have anything to offer.  A real friendship means that both people help each other but because of ableism, nobody thinks I can help or be a good friend.


When I have a difficult time, my parents “vent” to friends and strangers alike about how hard it is for them to deal with me.  Sometimes, my parents tell others more about me than I am allowed to know about myself.  If I have a meltdown, because I am overwhelmed, or frustrated…. my parents tell the world that I am “aggressive” and talk about my private moments without my consent.  They tell everyone  that I am unable to speak for myself, even when my “behaviors” are speaking loud and clear.  I am not allowed to expect privacy or dignity because my parent’s need for toxic “support” is more important.

These are some of the things ableism takes from us, but it doesn’t have to.  

About Lei

PACLA is an Autistic friendly space dedicated to guiding parents toward respectful supports and accommodations for their Autistic children through the concepts of gentle parenting and a belief in the value of neurodiversity.

Posted on July 6, 2015, in Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. My “parents” did the same to me. Please know that you’re not alone. I think we should petition to make those abusive therapies illegal and to help the autistic population gain equal rights and help them be who they truly are. I would personally love to be the president of USA so I would make neurotypicals doing those things to their autistic children illegal, force the neurotypicals to give them up for adoption and let them be adopted by people who actually care…and in the meantime, put themselves in proper therapy.

    Also, this “I can’t cope with this thing; therefore, I must murder my autistic child for being autistic because I am a selfish, melodramatic, attention-seeking neurotypical who hates Autistic people and wants them to die” trope is the most selfish thing that I’ve ever heard.

    Listen up, neurotypical scums and listen well! Children are not extensions of yourselves; they’re just their own individual persons and all they need is love and acceptance. If you only want a child if it’s not autistic or disable for that matter, then stop having kids; just give them up for adoption, let them be adopted by someone who actually cares…and in the meantime, put your sorry asses into therapy! Anything except that melodramatic crap that you chose (this paragraph is for neurotypicals who don’t deserve to have kids)!


  2. I agree with the sentiment of your comment, but I just want to clarify that not all NT people are scums and that’s not even something that is exclusive to NT people at all. But I do understand where you are coming from. The world has a lot to learn about how to respect Disabled lives. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m lucky that my mother isn’t ableist – she’s always accepted my autism, as it’s a part of me. I think it’s her acceptance that has given me pride and self-confidence about my abilities as an autistic person, and it’s also why I don’t want a cure for autism.


  4. It’s an unfortunate act that our society is incredibly ableist and very hateful toward autistics. If you work and become successful, that right there is a middle finger at your parents. The best revenge is to live a successful life and do all the things that the world told you that you couldn’t do.


  5. autistasangeles

    Reblogged this on autistasangeles.


  1. Pingback: Autism is About Adaptation or What is Up with that PROM Obsession? | Acantholycosa

  2. Pingback: Леи Вилей-Мидски: «Эйблизм моих родителей ограбил меня, и это вещи, которых он меня лишил» | Нейроразнообразие в России

  3. Pingback: Autism Parent Bingo - Updated | Un-Boxed Brain

  4. Pingback: Лея Вилей-Мидски: «Эйблизм моих родителей ограбил меня, и это вещи, которых он меня лишил» | Нейроразнообразие в России

  5. Pingback: Autism Parent Bingo | Un-Boxed Brain

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: