Since I’ve started raising awareness about autism, you would have thought it would be the ideal opportunity to jump on the band wagon and publish a post on World Autism Awareness Day but I thought I’d, instead, spread some education, from the autism community about what’s really going on…
People are aware of autism, so what is the meaning of the day? What are we actually raising awareness of? While it makes sense to raise awareness of rare diseases, it would make more sense to bring acceptance of autistic people, understanding of autism.
The awareness day didn’t come out of the autistic community, it was created by the United Nations for the community—while it’s well meaning, as often happens when autistic people aren’t consulted on things that are for them, a few things don’t quite add up…
For example: the puzzle piece is often used to represent autism, suggesting that autistic people are a puzzle, have something missing, or they don’t quite fit—it’s not exactly the most positive representation. Another, less than favourable, “light it up blue” campaign from the abhorrent Autism Speaks organisation is based on damaging stereotypes.
Many members of the autistic community feel ambivalent about the day because it makes no difference to them and their everyday life. What would make far more difference would less ableism, more reasonable adjustments at work, less stigma and discrimination in the world—is this day really achieving this?
The way the autistic community works is to share our stories. We’re an accepting community for people who’re searching for answers. Often people have been feeling lost and disconnected for years. Belonging is a fundamental human need.
I try to use my blog has a positive effect in getting my story out there and perhaps helping people feel less alone. Autism awareness day doesn’t really work because it’s another example of the disability community being done to… When it comes to anything disability related, it’s best to stick to the moto “nothing about us without us”.
For further thoughts on these subjects read this article “An Autistic’s Perspective” is a great read!
Checkout my thoughts about how awesome it is to be part of such an accepting community in this post!