Dan and the Monster Autism
"I am an autistic 19 year old. I am not a monster, nor am I trapped inside a monster. I'm just a unique person who has been misunderstood and abused by many others.
It's not my fault, or the fault of my autism, that other kids called me names, shoved me, etc. Nor was I bad when I did the only thing I could see to do, and lashed out at the bullies or ran away from school. That was better than when I shut down and lashed out at myself.
It's not my fault, or the fault of my autism, when my teachers insisted that I rearrange my mind to fit their curriculum. When I refused to obey them, hid under tables, or just stood there defiantly until they called my parents, I was advocating for myself. When I thought of myself as stupid, lost interest in things I used to like, and promised myself I wouldn't be 'bad' anymore, that's when I did something wrong, because I was hurting myself.
If no one else will defend your rights, you must defend them yourself. But some kids, like Dan, give in and accept the poisonous blame. They attack themselves, trying to defeat the monster inside. They learn that they're broken, and they must spend 'as long as it takes' to make themselves into worthwhile, valuable human beings. My parents told me that I was always a valuable human being, but many kids don't have parents who do that.
If you claim to be committed to helping children break through injustice, then do that. Don't tell kids they have to defeat the monster that is inside them, tell them they're OK and they must respect themselves. Don't tell them the way they were born, the way they are, is inherently broken, or else you're the injustice they need to break through."