#BoycottToSiri Needed To Happen Because Ableist Autism Parenting Memoirs Need to Stop Happening

It's gratifying to see the autistic-led #BoycottToSiri furor over Judith Newman's dangerously ableist autism parenting memoir To Siri With Love. Yet, despite the current zeitgeist of "you don't get to get away with that shit any more," Newman's treatment of autistic critics so far seems no different than any other called-out perpetrator's denial of both harm and responsibility.

I'm also frustrated that publishing-enabled bigotry remains the dominant theme of the autism parenting literary realm, with authors like Newman continuing to get kudos for their "honesty." This is doubly angering as a parent who has been pushing for better autism coverage in progressive media outlets and better autism parenting role models for years, and who was, until this point, cautiously optimistic that public tolerance of exploitative autism parenting behavior was on the wane.

Nope. Publishers still don't seem to grok the problem with parents violating autistic children's privacy for their rubbernecking readers. Fellow autism parent Ron Suskind (who wrote the New York Times book review of To Siri that sparked the outrage) is, like Newman, the kind of dangerous autism double agent we see too much of these days: nimble users of neurodiversity-friendly code words and phrases—Newman makes the case for "autistic" versus "with autism"—who nevertheless undermine their children's rights by endorsing classically indefensible themes like forced sterilization.

I get that the journey towards best practices is not always the easiest for parents of autistic kids, having myself learned many hard and heartbreaking lessons about what my son does and does not deserve, since he was first diagnosed 14 years ago. But I also know that, while I would gut a fire-breathing dragon to get my son what he needs, autistic people will always be my son's greatest champions, in terms of fighting for his rights and basic dignity, now and forever. When it comes to autism, I am required to listen to autistic people If I want to do right by my son.

With autistic primacy in autism topics in mind, here are a few examples of autistic commentary from the #BoycottToSiri Twittersphere that both you, dear Reader, and Newman need to absorb:

I hope Newman realizes that her son may well read her book as well as the reaction from his own autistic community one day, and that she'll need to have both an explanation and an apology ready when that happens (if he even tells her).

And if she needs guidance on any of these matters: I'm actually a friendly person who happens to have an active BS-meter. I would be happy to provide advice or conversation.

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