Okay, I know it’s only February, and April (Autism Awareness Month) is a ways off, but I can’t help but think about it, these days.
Definitely more than I should be.
I have other things to think about, for sure. And yet, it’s forever in the back of my mind.
I have a whole host of feelings about this phenomenon, and this year is especially piquant for me, now that I have an official assessment from an official person that I’m officially #ActuallyAutistic. And a big part of me wants to don my armor, jump astride my proverbial charger, and storm the gates of the “autism awareness” overlords.
There’s a great post I read last year about how damaging all the “autism awareness” campaigns have been. And I concur that:
Just look at how many of us, who could be employed, are still denied opportunities.
Just look at how many institution-like communities are being developed to isolate us by using fear – the fear parents have that nobody will “care” for their children – in order to “unburden” society with our existence.
Look at how communities still lack resources, services and supports for Autistic children and Autistic adults.
Look at how much more the still small, but growing, Autism Acceptance Movement has accomplished by promoting and valuing Autistic voices and Autistic lives.
Autism Awareness only uses so-called “deficits” of Autistic people in their campaigns. The list tells the world that
We CAN’T do what “real people” do.
We WON’T be what we dream of being.
We will NEVER accomplish anything that can be considered valuable.
The thing is… the term “awareness” does not connote something specific. And while one sort of awareness may technically be full of errors and flawed information, nevertheless, it has raised awareness — just not about helpful things.
So, maybe we just need to take back the whole concept of Awareness, and make people aware for real, instead of inundating them with bad info that just works them into a frightened, despairing frenzy.
NaNoWriMo is the nickname for National Novel Writing Month – that time in November when lots of people take a stab at writing a novel in a month. It’s a fun thing, if you don’t get to hung up on the idea of producing bona fide literature.
So, I’m going to have nicknames for April.
- AutAwMo – Autism Awareness Month
- AutMisiMo – Autism Misinformation Month
- AutDisiMo – Autism Disinformation Month
- AutProMo – Autism Propaganda Month
If April is going to be awful (and for many of us, it will be), I might as well toy with the experience a bit, with my own decidedly autistic flair.