Who gets to decide what is “challenging behavior?” Because, if you ask any neurodivergent person, we’ll tell you, it’s neurotypicals who expect everyone to act precisely as they do, who are most challenging to us. Yet neurodivergent behavior is constantly called, “challenging,” which centers neurotypicals, not us.
Are we challenging you when we aren’t just like you? Or are you engaged in a power struggle with us, often, an NT adult, against an ND child, to try to force our square peg into a round hole? We will not comply. We need to have a seat at the table, especially the discussions about what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. What you see as challenging behavior, we see as self-advocacy in a world where we are denied supports, access to communication, an inclusive education, our consent and right to bodily autonomy.
For many of us, meltdowns and shutdowns are neurological events, much like a seizure is for an epileptic person. For others, like those who have communication impairments, behavior is self-advocacy. For many of us, our “challenging behavior” is fighting back in an abusive power struggle with a pre-determined winner that is never us.
We will not comply. Why are you struggling for power against people who have no power in this world? Then, when we fail to comply, either by choice or non-volitionally, then we’re punished for it. held down in lethal restraints and locked in solitary confinement cells that traumatize, injure, maim, and kill us. But it’s not our behavior being punished, but the fact that we dared to challenge you, that we dared to self-advocate through our “non-compliance.”
Why should be comply to our own dehumanization and marginalization? We WILL not comply. An entire generation who were subjected to behaviorism en masse have grown into adults and are telling the world the trauma of being behaviorized. The behavior that needs to change is insisting that everyone is the same, that everyone communicates and interacts with the world the same. We will not comply.
The time is now for our liberation from our exclusion and the oppression of behaviorism is now. We will NOT comply.