In 13 days, it will be April.
And it will begin.
And I’m terrified.
I’m talking, of course, about Autism Awareness month. While a good idea in concept, it’s really a terrifying month for autistic people.
Because we get to hear about what burdens we are.
We get to hear about what therapies out there can help us look less autistic (and hey, that’s the goal, right?)
We get to hear about how “high functioning” people don’t count because they can speak (except the judgment is often made against people who can type and who can blog and has nothing to do with speaking in the first place) and how “low functioning” people don’t count because they aren’t self aware enough to even think.
We get to hear about cures, and Autism Speaks and …and… and….
I also happen to have been born in the month of April. It really darkens a month that used to be really really happy for me, and it makes me dread the entire month, and want to hide under my comforter until it’s over.
Please, dear readers, understand that I want a better world for all autistics. I want the public to understand more about autism. But “awareness” campaigns are faux awareness. They’re pat-yourself-on-the-back-for-being-a-decent-human-being sort of campaigns. Please read here about why awareness isn’t enough. It is the single best, most concise post about the subject.
Here’s how you can really help.
You can stand up for autistic people being bullied both online and offline.
You can stand up to Autism Speaks and their sponsors and tell them, “no. This is not helping autistic people.”
You can fight for every child to receive accommodations in school suited for their individual needs, and for every adult to have accommodations at their workplace and suitable living conditions.
You can fight against the extremely low wage that developmentally disabled people are often paid – far below minimum wage.
You can fight against the preconceived notions about the kind of people that autistic people are (dangerous? rude? Self-centered? Well, some of us are, but that’s not because of autism).
You can stand up and insist that erroneous ideas about autism causation are not based in any scientific fact, and avoiding vaccinating your child does not help prevent autism.
Don’t light it up blue for Autism Speaks.
Don’t accept faux activism as acceptable.
Don’t accept “awareness” that autism exists as being enough, when most people have no idea what autism even is.
Thirteen days left and I’m steeling myself against the barrage of negativity.