In the summer of 2007, shortly after the diagnosis of my oldest son, my family had a Department of Children and Families (DCF) referral made for possible neglect of our two children. While DCF was unable to substantiate any claims of abuse or neglect, we were given a treatment plan as they felt my mental health negatively impacted the children and had caused their developmental delays, according to the now sealed court records.
In the year that followed, despite attempting to follow their steps, we were still taken to family court. The ultimate goal is still not fully known. It was through this court case that I was given my official autism diagnosis. DCF took this diagnosis as a show that our family would need ongoing support for the rest of our lives, including Applied Behavior Analysis for the children and social skills training for myself. The treatment we were given was extremely traumatic.
It was from this start that I began pouring over research, case studies, and such trying to prove that Autistic parents could indeed parent. Over the years, it became clear to me that Autistic parents are sometimes better at supporting their autistic children than neurotypical parents. With a keen sense of what our children are feeling and experiencing, a subset of our population have learned to teach our children how to navigate a world that’s not made for us.
Recognizing that our rights to exist as we are and to gain the support we need, and not just be trained on what providers think we should be able to do, lead me into Autistic activism. After becoming pregnant with my daughter, I began looking at how to change the practices to better support us in our homes, schools and communities. I took what we knew to be true in the Autistic community, found research that supported our anecdotes, and started finding outlets to explain it all to providers and parents alike. I am ever thankful that I have been able to share what I have learned over the years to help prevent the atrocities that happened to my family.