Blue shirts, blue buildings, blue ribbons. It’s Autism awareness month again ain’t it? Every year I have to watch the same damn thing unfold. Once again Autism Speaks is out on another mission to sound the alarm about a threat that doesn’t exist in order to pull in money that won’t go towards helping the very people the organization has sought out to exploit. You’d think creating this panic about Autism would be more played out than Drake songs on the radio but, unfortunately they’re always at it and have gotten increasingly more successful at duping unsuspecting people into throwing money at an organization that does not give a flying fuck what us Autistics actually have to say. For an organization called Autism Speaks, y’all sure as hell do a lot of the speaking for us. Due to the organization’s heavy presence during the month of April, people automatically assume that these guys are the gold standard of Autism organizations. Unfortunately, these guys have been responsible for a lot of the negative stigma surrounding Autism. Famous pieces like Susanne Wright’s “A Call to Action”, the documentary “Sounding the Alarm and, “I Wish My Kids Had Cancer: A Family Surviving the Autism Epidemic” seek to make Autism so scary that people will run to their senators and force them to provide more funding to Autism research,. Now don’t get me wrong Autism is still one of the least funded disorders but, the type of research Autism Speaks is seeking has all the wrong intentions behind it. They see Autism as something that should be eliminated instead of trying to advocate for better supports that would allow those on the spectrum to be the best possible versions of themselves. I shall leave you with a few things to think about.
- Just because we’re wired differently doesn’t mean we don’t share the same ambitions as our neurotypical counterparts. We have the same desires to be part of society. We experience love and even understand the concept of love even though we process it a bit differently. We also have sexual desires just like anyone else. We’re really not that different aside from our processing.
- We are not a burden. We all have our bad days and require a great deal of patience at times but, we are not a burden. We’re human beings with poor wiring jobs. We already know how to work around our shoddy wiring but, some of us may not be able to effectively communicate just how we do it. Bear with us and be patient.
- Autism is not some epidemic that has come to steal away your child. The number has risen over the years but, it’s because doctors have gotten better at diagnosing children who used to fall through the cracks 30 years ago. We’ve developed a better diagnostic criteria for the spectrum.
- Autism is a very complex spectrum where no one person is ever the same. Similar sensory processing difficulties exist on all parts of the spectrum but, we’re all very different. What worked for child A will definitely not work for child B. A one size fits all approach will doom you for failure.
- If you want to know more about Autism, talk to Autistic people. A lot of us are more than willing to answer any questions you may have. There’s nothing more enjoyable to us than being able to talk about ourselves. Even just hanging around an Autistic person is enough to get in our world.
I hope this helps. It’s gonna be a long month of blue everything. My only request to everyone is that we all learn to accept those with Autism as they are. We’re no sick, We’re not broken, we’re just severely misunderstood and we have a ton of misinformation and scare tactics to thank for that.