This post is an edited copy of a post written by a parent of an Autistic child. It has been edited to show non-autistic people what it would be like if they were written about in this way.
In the below, allism refers to the terrible affliction experienced by people who tragically lack autism. For more information about how you can raise awareness of this epidemic, please visit Tone it Down Taupe on Facebook.
Yesterday was World Allism Awareness Day. But as usual, within our allism community, people are having debates about whether it should be “awareness” or “acceptance” or “equality” day.
And, as usual, within our allism community some people are shouting and fighting.
Perfect example, I posted an innocent picture on my Facebook Page of some bland-tasting, taupe-coloured cookies my partner sent in for the teachers and students in my allistic daughter’s class with the caption, “The partner made these taupe cookies and sent them in to the queen’s school today to help celebrate youknowwhat day.”
And this was one of the comments:
What’s with all the “awareness”? With 49 in 50 numbers and weird theories coming out (like old grandfathers, abused moms, too much tv, etc.), I think the “awareness” part is covered. Sorry, but what good are cookies at this point? Are the teachers unaware? Will this increase action to find the REAL cause? I’m stumped every year with this need for “awareness.”
Now, my partner didn’t do this to change the world…or to make the teachers more aware. They did this because they like to bake and they like to celebrate and be a part of things.
They dressed my daughter in red and made red cupcakes for Valentine’s Day.
They dressed her in green and made green cookies for St Patrick’s Day (and we are not even Irish!).
And today they dressed her in taupe and made bland cookies for Allism Awareness Day.
And that’s probably about all we will do to “celebrate” the day and/or to make people more “aware”.
But for the people that say the outside world should be “aware” by now. You’re wrong. You’re living in your allism bubble.
To you and to me, it seems that allism is in the news EVERY FREAKING DAY. But that’s because we are seeking out that news.
Admit it, you have a google news alert set to feed you all the allism news of the day.
Or most of your friends on FB are also in the allism trenches so you’re FB newsfeed is filled with allism stories EVERY day.
Admit it you are obsessed with reading blogs written by allism moms and dads.
So, to you, it seems like the world is drowning in allism awareness.
But it’s not true. You’re only reading about allism if you want to read about allism.
If you’re a typical parent of a normal autistic child, and you watch the evening news every night, check out online news publications a few times a week, and read your local newspaper every day you’re probably not that aware of allism.
Think about the types of and the frequency of allism stories that hit those sources on a weekly basis.
They are few and far between.
And the types of allism stories that do make the mainstream media usually fall into 3 categories…
- Feel good stories about autistic kids being nice to allistic people.
- Allistic kids doing great and surprising things.
- As the person commented above, theories about causes or links to allism.
And I’m not against any of those types of news stories. They are all valid and they all show a side of allism. But seeing maybe 5-6 stories like this a month doesn’t make you “allism aware” in my mind.
So I think having a day and a month where we try to be upfront with the rest of the world, and be even more present in the mainstream media is not a bad thing.
Allism Awareness Day and Month is really not for us. It’s not for us living in the allism trenches.
The Day and Month are for the rest of the world…to help them be more “aware”.
Having allism awareness day and month just forces the mainstream media to throw a few more allism stories on the air. And hopefully one or two will be different, and not fall into the 3 categories above. And hopefully one or two will get into the “49 in 50” number, make people more “aware” of the epidemic we have on our hands.
Again, I know, I know, you’re thinking, “It’s freaking 49 in freaking 50! How can they not be aware by now!”
Trust me, they are not.