It seems that every time that an Autistic person says “I don’t want your awareness“, someone else comes along and says that without awareness, we’ll never gain acceptance.
That is such a ridiculous argument.
It wouldn’t be ridiculous if autism awareness campaigns spent time focusing on making society aware of what can be done to accommodate us. It wouldn’t be ridiculous if autism awareness campaigns showed us being who we are: People who are different from many, but people nonetheless.
But autism awareness campaigns don’t focus on those sorts of things. They focus on the problem that we create for our families. Campaigns focus on how many of us there are. They focus on how much we cost. Awareness talks about us as a problem which must be solved.
People don’t accept problems. They fear them. They try to fix them.
Can you imagine what it feels like to be seen as a problem?
We’re one week away from what Neurodivergent K aptly calls Autism Freakout Month.
For the past several weeks, I’ve faced daily reminders that I’m a problem. I’ve seen puzzle pieces, blue lights, blue profile picture filters, and general fear mongering surrounding autism. I’ve seen well-meaning, but completely misguided, autism organisations arranging the strangest of awareness raising campaigns. Most of the time, these campaigns exclude us completely and focus primarily on the parent experience. These campaigns use harmful stereotypes to highlight our differences, but instead of presenting them as differences, they’re presented as deficits and delays.
And I’m reminded that we are a problem.
We’re fighting for our human rights while autism awareness campaigns show us as less than whole human beings. We’re asking for acceptance while awareness narratives make us seem unacceptable as we are.
Please rethink your awareness raising. Don’t contribute to the negativity surrounding autism. We can see and read everything that you’re saying, and it reminds us that, to you, we are a problem.