It’s Autism “Awareness” Day.
You are aware autistic people exist. Let’s accept them.
Acceptance ISN’T posting anything about Autism Speaks, puzzle pieces, or the color blue. Acceptance ISN’T sharing the “Blue Halloween Bucket” post every year or talking about how “special” Autistic people are like we’re not reading your comments. We have always been here.
If you have seen a single post about how the autistic community feels about Autism Speaks & you still choose to share and spread information from them, you are NOT an ally. Yes, even if your son, niece, third cousin, best-friend’s child, sibling or father is autistic. If you are not applying the information that autistic people are offering and learning from it, you’re not an ally.
Accepting autism means realizing that we do not always have the support we need in the world, because it doesn’t exist universally. A lot of autistic people are failed by the system and lack of accessibility. We don’t all need the same amount of help, but a lot of us don’t have access to the right kind.
Autism acceptance means accepting that YOU DID bully me (and anyone like me) if you made fun of me for liking Pokémon, Freddy Krueger or cat books, but thought it was perfectly acceptable for someone to like Twilight, sports teams and Disney movies. Accepting our differences is knowing when to hold us to a different standard than neurotypicals, and when not to. If “Regular” people are allowed to be HUGE FANS of conventional movies, teams, and topics, you cannot resent autistic people for their special interests.
Accepting autism is re-learning what the media has taught you. It’s not some curable mental illness… It’s a neurotype. All people process information differently, but autistic people process information more often a certain way than another. We’re not all the same, but we have an overlap in our understanding and how we learn, communicate and articulate our truths.
Accepting autism is realizing that it doesn’t end when someone stops being a kid. Accepting autism is actually making time for adult autistic friends you have, including them in things you like and also wanting to do things they like, even if you think they’re weird. Autistic people shouldn’t always be the ones sacrificing their needs and wants for the sake of inclusion, but that’s often the case. Our needs and wishes are often seem “too much”, so we go along with what we’re offered. Imagine if it didn’t have to be that way?
Accepting autism is accepting that some of us will never eat anything “adult”. We see hundreds of tweets and posts a year about how someone should “grow up” if they don’t like mushrooms. People don’t have to eat a certain way to be worthy of your respect.
Accepting autism is accepting that many autistic people’s interests are considered “for children” or they’re so obscure you’ll never be able to understand them, or you’ve never heard of them. Acceptance is not discouraging us from being ourselves by putting rules and labels on interests.
Some autistic people are loud. I’ve been told my entire life to be quiet. I won’t. Accept that, too.
Functionality labels are harmful. All autistic people struggle in a society that is formatted to only support neurotypical people. You cannot possibly understand how a person functions. If someone doesn’t require much support, you could say “low support needs” instead of “high functioning”. This is just my personal suggestion! Not necessarily the only option.
Those of us with ASD 1 (requiring the least support) can often speak for ourselves, but we cannot speak for autistic people with different needs who may require more care. And we would never claim to be able to speak for those who are unable to communicate.
Autism in adults can look like so many things. Doctors, lawyers, writers, scientists, artists, engineers, and builders can all be autistic. There is nothing that an autistic person can’t be! But some autistic adults don’t achieve that or don’t want to and all of us deserve the same amount of respect and consideration. Some autistic adults can’t work, can’t drive, can’t make friends or even pass a written test. We all have different struggles and different strengths.
Here are links: