Today, April 2nd, is Autism Awareness Day which many people have changed to Autism Acceptance Day. Here are my thoughts on why I’m still fighting for Autism awareness when many seem to have abandoned that cause in exchange for acceptance….
Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends posted about Autism saying that everyone is already aware of Autism. I’ve seen comments like that before from various people about how we don’t need Autism Awareness anymore but that we need Autism Acceptance instead. I agree that we need acceptance but I think we still need to be fighting for awareness. Until we have awareness of not only Autism existing but WHAT it is, we will never get the acceptance our Autistic community deserves.
You may be thinking that people *know* what Autism is already but I completely disagree. I believe most people have heard of it but I still believe that most people do not know what it is. Wondering why I think this? Because of comments I get like this….
- “Your child doesn’t LOOK Autistic.”
- “Will he outgrow it?”
- “How did he get it?”
- “My ______ (insert random person they know) has Autism and they _____ (insert random fact that makes them think they know what they are talking about)” and then assume my child is JUST like that person they kind of know.
The truth of the matter is that EVERY person who has Autism is different. It’s a spectrum disorder so no two cases of Autism will look exactly the same though there are sometimes similarities. Some of the above questions are asked by well-meaning people because they have questions and want to know more. Only after we (the Autism community) educate them on what Autism is will the process of acceptance truly be able to start.
So today, as everyone else pushes for acceptance, I’m going to continue pushing for awareness. The newest numbers show 1 in 68 children have Autism (it was 1 in 88). Autism is not going to disappear so I encourage everyone to learn more about it and then let’s talk about acceptance and inclusion.