This is my entry for Autistics Speaking Day. There are content warnings in place for emotional abuse, shame-based training, anti-autistic sentiment and fundamentalist religion.
Edition to clarify, 1 November 2015: My family and teachers did know I was autistic; I was diagnosed at a very young age, in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Their actions toward me were an example of wilful ignorance and shame-based thinking, but it would be unfair to say that they didn’t know I was autistic.
My childhood predates the widespread phenomenon of the “autism parent” who infantilises their child well into the adult years, writes long jeremiads about how burdensome their child is and how much better off they would be if their child were dead, constantly presumes their adolescent or adult child’s incompetence, and avoids facing the reality that their child is an independent and autonomous person. Nevertheless, despite the different social landscape surrounding autism that existed in the late 80s and early 90s, I had much of the same destructive rhetoric and behaviour directed toward me throughout my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, primarily concerning the pervasive presumption of incompetence and ignoring the root cause of particular behaviour patterns.