“Awareness!!” (again)

I’ve written about misguided awareness campaigns before, but I think this one might actually top them all.

Today, I was invited to a Facebook event that encourages people to “post a picture of there hand covering there mouth with the hashtags silentselfie and letsilentwordsbeheard” in order to “show solidarity in the autism community” (I copied and pasted those quotes because I just can’t paraphrase that effectively).

So, why is this misguided?

  1. Not all Autistic people are non-speaking. Some Autistic people can speak all the time, some Autistic people can speak some of the time, and some are non-speaking.
  2. Not all non-speaking Autistic people are silent. Most actually have a lot to say when they’re given the opportunity to communicate using methods that don’t involve moving mouthparts.

There are probably more reasons but those two are the first that come to mind. This campaign feeds into the stereotypes of Autistic people, and it also focuses heavily on communication with mouthparts being the only form of communication.

You’re reading this blog right now? I haven’t used my mouthparts once to communicate with you. So, on 5 September, I will be uploading my #silentselfie and tagging it #letsilentwordsbeheard.

So, there you go, that’s what I think of this campaign. And, I didn’t even have to say a word to communicate my thoughts on it.