I posted the following in a rather large autism parent support group on FB and on my FB page for Eluding Atrophy:
Happy Autism Awareness/Acceptance Day!!!
Whatever color you use, blue, gold, red, or symbol, puzzle pieces or the rainbow infinity…
Let’s remember what this is about, okay? Autism. What that means, what it REALLY is, those affected by it and actually are Autistic, what they need to live a functional life. Stuff like that.
Let’s all, whatever friggin color we use, promote not only awareness (for those who have no idea what it is) but also acceptance. Auties want to be accepted, included, and accommodated where needed to live functional lives. Auties can contribute to society just like any other person, with the right services. While we fight for services for our kids, keep in mind that these kids will one day be autistic adults and will, more likely, still need some kind of help, so let’s try to look towards the future and find a way for them to have those things when they reach adulthood. So many of us have gone without, those of us on the spectrum that are adults today, and this is why you will see so many passionate auties speaking out.
You will see many Autistics speaking out against blue and the puzzle piece. Let them. This month is about THEM after all, isnt it? Yes it is about your little ones too, it is about my little ones, but it is also about the Auties that came before them. Accept that they have a voice and can speak for themselves, and that what they say might not be something you agree with but they have a right to speak about their own experiences. Our kids will one day be older and want to speak for themselves, would we silence them just because we don’t like what they have to say? I wouldn’t.
Promote your color, but let others promote theirs as well. I say this to all.
Fellow Autistics, as hard as it can be for some of us, the blue wont go away over night. Advocate. Advocate hard, but try to keep in mind that change is hard for all of us, some more than others. And a mindset cannot be changed right now, it takes time. Maybe one day a compromise can be made, maybe a real change will happen. But until then I will promote the color and symbol I feel is appropriate (gold and rainbow infinity), and if someone objects they can but I dont care, because I am autistic and I will promote my own neurotype the way I see fit.
Non Autistics, all I ask is that we ALL stop the sharing of misinformation. Let’s promote love and acceptance, let the world know that autism is not a disease and that our kids are not broken.
Go blue, go gold, go red, go orange for all I care at this point.
Ultimately it is about getting the right services for those who actually are autistic, and to stop the spread of misinformation and dehumanizing those with the disorder.
These past few days leading up to the month of April have been rocky, at best, in online Autism groups. Autistic adults have been speaking out against Autism $peaks and it’s been met with backlash from some parents that disagree with their view point. Maybe… that post will be taken a bit better. I do NOT support AS, don’t get me wrong, and I do not agree with light it up blue or the puzzle piece. But I just felt like maybe trying to find a middle ground might be good to do, in the long run, if anything it might get a few people to think and ask but why don’t they light it up blue?? etc. Because clearly, if they know the harm AS does, surely they would be appalled by that as much as we are? Right?
Autistics are speaking up and for themselves, and it seems to be making some non autistic parents of asd kids upset.. Which is incredibly hypocritical if you consider that they are supposed to be advocating for the acceptance of their own child. These children will one day be adults, autistic adults, and yet they try to silence the very people that are in the same demographic… WHY? Why the fuck are they doing that? I just cannot wrap my mind around it. So I take a step back and look. I see blogs by parents writing about their kids, I see posts in groups, etc, which many tend to have this “woe is me” thing going on. This isn’t to say that ALL are doing this, of course not. I know some wicked cool non autistics. The point being that there are some or many that are using their child’s autism for sympathy or likes or views. They even go so far as to post the most intimate of details and I cringe at the thought of my parents posting something about me in that way. I would NEVER go that far when it comes to my kids. I am not their voice. I am my own voice. When mine are able to speak for themselves they will do so, and I will do my best to help them find their voice, but I will in no fucking way attempt to speak for them. Ever. This seems to be a concept that is hard for many to grasp, letting the autistics speak for themselves. But what about the non verbals? I have to speak for my child because they CAN’T speak for themselves. Not necessarily. There are nonverbal autistics out there with blogs. They probably can find their voice if you help them find it. When it comes to schools and IEP’s and doctors etc, yes you speak for them there, I get that. But this isn’t what I’m referring to. I’m referring to the so many that will tell others what Autism is when they have no fucking clue what it really is, because they have only witnessed it as a carer. Then when those who actually are autistic try to speak up, those very same people that claim to be fighting for services and acceptance of their own children will try to silence those of us who want to speak for ourselves. Something is VERY wrong with this.
This martyrdom of carers and parents has led me to believe that Autism “Awareness” month isn’t even about us anymore, if it ever was, but rather about the parents and how hard it is to raise someone on the spectrum, the struggles and sacrifices. Most of the message of “light it up blue” is negative. So much misinformation is still being spread about Autism. It is made to look like this horrible thing, worse than death. Autism destroys homes, marriages, lives, etc. This is what we (those who advocate against AS and for ourselves) are trying to combat. Fight the spread of misinformation, to get our voices heard, to tell you (the non autistic) what autism is REALLY like. I am hoping that my post above will help to sort of “bridge the gap” that is growing so vast between the Autistic Adults and non Autistic parents of Autistic kids. Maybe it will, maybe it wont. But I have to try.
I want to say to those who continuously argue the use of light it up blue, those who say that it is fine because it is what they feel is appropriate and they like it: Nobody fucking asked us what color or symbol WE wanted. But many of us are telling you now, that we DON’T light it up blue, we DON’T like the puzzle piece and we are explaining WHY. Autistics are speaking out, why wont you listen?
For more info on the Autistic perspective (just a few links, there are so much more, and most of these have links to even more!):
Ask An Autistic- What’s wrong with Autism Speaks?
Emma’s Hope Book- What’s wrong with Autism Speaks?
Autistic Hoya- So High Functioning
Autism Women’s Network- Your Autism Awareness Has Failed
Non-Speaking Autistic Speaking
Great work. X