My seven-year-old niece recently received her paper diagnosis. To welcome her into her newly-recognized autistic family, I enlisted the community’s help. We put together a book of welcoming messages, artwork, and short informational articles she could use to learn more about what it means to be, not only autistic, but capital-A Autistic.
This is the second of the three short essays I included.
Who Is the Autistic Party Giraffe?
The Autistic Party Giraffe was born during a conversation about who gets to tell us what it means to be autistic. The answer? We do!
Autism is all over the news right now, and everybody has an opinion about what it means to be autistic. Some of those opinions, like the ones in this book, are positive: we like our brains and we like each other. Some of those opinions are not so positive: people say that we’re broken, or tragic, or “stupid.”
The Autistic Party Giraffe is here to remind you that you get to decide what being autistic means to you. You can listen to other people’s opinions and try out their advice, but to make the final decision, you should listen to your heart.
PS: the Autistic Party Giraffe is a “she,” and her name is Montana.