I have written before.
I sent messages, I tweeted too.
You ignored me.
I am trying again because Sesame Street is very important to me and I have learnt so much from you.
I was alone and nobody believed I could learn. I was called names, and other kids - the ones who could speak, the ones who could move with ease, the ones people said were "normal" - those kids were told to pity me, and stay away.
I was three years old when I learned the letters, numbers and words. I was reading and counting, I was learning because I was watching Sesame Street.
My young mind could not rationalize then, but I understood that Sesame Street was the place where anyone could simply be, including me, silent and uncoordinated. I was valued just as I was.
At the time there wasn't any conversations about, or awareness of, autism. It would have been so great if the younger me had heard about the important and awesome accomplishments the older me was achieving!
The younger me would have grown up knowing that non-speaking Autistics who move in a funny way can also be an important and valuable part of society.
I know you want to spread the message that Autistics belong, like everybody else. You want Autistic kids to feel accepted and included.
But you partnered with Autism Speaks. Your message will not be one of inclusion. It will be one of fear, pity and sadness.
The children watching Sesame Workshop, partnered with Autism Speaks will still learn the ABC's but they will also be receiving the Autism Speaks’ message. A message that says that:
"A" is not for Autistics are Amazing, but for Avoid Autistics.
The "B" they will learn is not for Beautiful minds, but for Beware of autism.
"C" could be for Creativity and Compassion, but the children will learn that Autism Speaks thinks they Cause pain.
The ABC's of this partnership starts like this:
“A is for Avoid,
B for Beware,
C is for Causing pain
That's what autism means to us”…
The young Autistics watching this show will grow up ashamed of being themselves, and their memories of Sesame Street will be traumatic.
The non-autistic children watching the show will learn that Autistics are lesser people, to be pitied and feared, that autism causes our families to suffer.
Sesame Workshop, how can you partner with an organization that wants the world to see autism as a crisis and Autistics as tragedies?
Let us teach all children that autism is:
Amazing - yes we are
Beautiful - like every child is
Community - we are ready to be included
Diversity – what you used to stand for
Experts - we are the ones who can teach you about autism
Partner with acceptance, not with hate
Don’t ignore us.