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Non-verbal autistic people like my son will never write his story. That doesn’t mean no one should – The Guardian

Wednesday, 2 February, 2022

Non-verbal autistic people like my son will never write his story. That doesn’t mean no one should – The Guardian

‘When a narrative simply cannot be told by an #ActuallyAutistic person, what then? We don’t tell it?’ Photograph: Gary Hider/Alamy

 
Afellow author recently alerted me to their inclusion of an autistic character in their upcoming debut. This very sweet young writer felt the need to be open with me, given I have two sons on the spectrum and that autism is outside their lived experience. This writer also let me know that they would completely understand if, on account of this depiction, I chose not to read their book.
Over the past two decades, my two boys and I have rather kept to ourselves. My younger son, Rupert, has some difficulty going out and about, so we tend to stick to the deeply etched routines that have developed over the years. As a result, I’m probably the last person to consult regarding preferred terminology, because I genuinely don’t have a clue. My sons identify as autistic, as “having autism”, and as being “on the spectrum”. Perhaps we’re outliers in this regard, but our focus has always been on life and communication skills, on building independence and personal safety. We know who we are; no labelling overhaul changes that.
Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/feb/02/non-verbal-autistic-people-like-my-son-will-never-write-his-story-that-doesnt-mean-no-one-should

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