April 2nd is World Autism Day. One of the podcasts that I listen to regularly, Thrive With Aspergers, recently uploaded a podcast that really stirred something within me.
I started my blog because a lot of websites about Autism were not managed by Autistics. In addition, medical websites tend to focus n Autism as something that makes a person defective or diseased.
I am not defective, or diseased, I am Autistic and my Autism makes me who I am. Cure culture scares me, because it makes me feel as if there is a large part of the world who wishes people like me did not exist.
The text below is a small portion of an amazing blog post on the Thrive With Autism blog. Please be sure to check out the full post here and subscribe to the podcast (Stephen Borgman does an amazing job maintaining the site).
Autism Acceptance: The Next Step For Autism Day
Celebrating an autism day is not enough. Awareness by itself is insufficient.
Apartheid was a system of segregation enforced by legislation. It kept the white Afrikaaners in control as the dominant party from 1948 to 1994. Through Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and struggles, democracy finally came to South Africa.
Through slavery, United States Caucasians controlled African people from 1619 – 1865.However, the civil rights movement took years of constant struggle to overcome the effects of racism, culminating in the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.
In the same way that racism has held peoples hostage in societies, misinformation often leads to discrimination and inequity for minority groups in our country: including autistics.
We need to combine autism awareness with autism acceptance.
Everyone should transform autism awareness day into autism acceptance action every single day.
I’m indebted to Amethyst Schaber and Shannon Des Roches Rosa Souza for showing us how to honor autism awareness day with acceptance and action.
In this video, Amethyst Schaber, a 24 year old autistic woman and activist, opened my eyes to the difference between autism awareness and autism acceptance.
First, autism awareness day has too often spread misinformation about autistics. Many of the people who’ve promoted autism awareness come from a place of love, but from a limited point of view.
Too often, those who promote autism awareness think that autism needs to be cured, or loved ones who see autism as something to be cured.
Even though the effort to raise awareness comes from a place of love, this view of autism has mistakenly spread the view of autistics as “sick, broken, missing, kidnapped, suffocating under layer of autism that parents have to fight and combat.” (quote from Amethyst Schaber)
What we need, instead, just as the civil rights movement needed minority voices, is autism awareness with acceptance.