A pop quiz for all you allies, family members, educators and therapists out there!
Question: What is a crutch?
I’ll give you a hint— a crutch is not an excuse for laziness, an inappropriate accommodation or a prop to gain pity.
Answer: A crutch is an object used as a support by a disabled or injured person.
See, here’s the thing. A crutch is a good thing. It is an assistive device that can help to enable a disabled or injured person to get around and do stuff. A crutch is not a bad thing, despite how the word is so often used today. A crutch, like a wheelchair, a cane, a pair of eye glasses or a hearing aid, is a good thing— unless you consider the autonomy and functioning of disabled people a bad thing.
So when you say something like, “I did not tell my son that he is Autistic so he wouldn’t use his diagnosis as a crutch”, what you are really saying is,
a. “I don’t understand what a crutch is,”
b. “I have no regard for the rights and well-being of my child, only concern for myself and for my own reputation in the eyes of an ignorant and ableist society.”
And now you know. Study hard, because the rights, health and safety of disabled people depend on it.
I think you’re kind of missing the point with the whole “crutch” thing. The problem people with the point of view you mentioned see isn’t what a crutch does, the problem is that it’s necessary. If you need something to help support you, that’s a sign of weakness. The strong rely on their own strength to live; only the weak and pitiable need external aid. Refusing to let someone use a crutch is forcing that someone to stand up on his or her own.
For the record, that’s not necessarily how I feel about the subject; I’m just trying to explain why I think the word is seen as negative.