Today is World Autism Awareness Day. I disagree at the most basic level with everything autism speaks stands for so the ‘light it up blue’ campaign doesn’t work for me but awareness is important. It matters. Not as much as acceptance maybe but it matters. When people are still saying stupid things like how my kid doesn’t “look autistic,” awareness and education are still very much necessary things.
My kid is awesome. He is who he is and I wouldn’t change him for anything. I’ve been told a time or two that I can’t understand what “real” autism is because my kid talks and his tics and stims are minimally observable. Because I can’t fall in line with the Autism Speaks way of thinking that he is a horrible burden on everything. My son has issues you can’t see and we’ve worked damned hard to be where we are. He has come so far and it flat out amazes me how awesome he is. No one gets to tell him that he’s a burden or somehow less than anyone else. Certainly not some organization that spends more on their offices than services for people who need them.
Autism is everywhere. It knows no gender boundary or age limit. No one knows for certain where it comes from and I’m not getting into that debate here or anywhere else online. There was a time when being left-handed was considered a terrible thing to be. I’ve known some pretty awesome left-handed people who are about as far from terrible as you can get. I have never met someone who didn’t have something different about them. It makes for an interesting life. I think the world would be awfully boring if we all thought the same. Certainly, we wouldn’t have made some of the discoveries and advancements we have if everyone thought the same way.
I don’t wear blue today but I educate people on autism as often as I can in hopes that their awareness leads to acceptance.