Guest Post: I don’t want your autism awareness; I want autism acceptance.

This was originally published by Morenike Onaiwu here.

I don’t want your autism awareness; I want autism acceptance.

Today is “World Autism Awareness Day.” While I think awareness is important, I ask you, as a Autistic mom to Autistic and non-Autistic kids: What value is awareness without acceptance? We have been “aware” of HIV for decades and yet people still choose to fear and stigmatize those living with it (case in point: recent HIV criminalization bills). We have been “aware” that women make ~ $0.64 to every $1.00 a man makes since I was a child and it hasn’t improved. We have been “aware” of sexism, or racism, of anti-Muslim sentiments, of anti-Semitism, of homophobia, of transphobia, of child marriage, of child abuse, of intimate partner violence, of sexual assault. As a society we are “aware” of all of those things. What substantive changes have come as a result of this “awareness?” Not as much as there should be.

I am a Christian (and proud of it). One well known quote in my community is “Faith without works is dead.” Whether you are a Christian or not, I think you can understand the value of that statement; if you profess to be a follower of Christ but your actions and words are anything but Christlike, then your faith is of little value to anyone but maybe yourself. Today I say to you AWARENESS WITHOUT ACCEPTANCE IS DEAD. IT doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help my children. It doesn’t help my community. Whatever you are “aware” of is probably not accurate anyway. How much money we cost? How much of a “burden” we are on everyone? How much we “need” to be “cured” of our “horrible” condition? How important it is to find the “cause” so we can counsel mothers to be about their pregnancy “options” (AKA convince them to abort unborn babies believed to be Autistic, as is currently done with other conditions diagnosed in utero)? How Autistic females supposedly don’t exist (or rarely do), hence the need to “light it up blue” because blue is a “boy” color for a “boy” diagnosis? That’s your “Autism Awareness?”

Being “aware” of autism is the reason that this story is in the news today – on World Autism Awareness Day, no less. This little boy and his mother live in Australia. They are law-abiding individuals, but since the child has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, he is perceived as a likely “future burden” on taxpayers, so they will probably be deported back to the Philippines. Because of course there’s no way he could ever contribute anything to society, right? He’s Autistic, so all he does is drain resources and wreak lives. That’s what we do. There’s more of us than “pediatric AIDS, childhood cancers, and juvenile diabetes all put together – right Autism Speaks? We are these confusing, troublesome puzzle pieces that no one can figure out?

You can keep your awareness. I want acceptance. Acceptance or nothing. Don’t be aware of me. Accept me.

I ask you to #WalkInRed, #ToneItDownTaupe, #LightItUpGold, or anything but light it up blue. The only thing that guves me the “blues” today is the negative way my people are perceived. We are not “locked away” in our minds. We’re right here…just different. Accept us. Please.

About loveexplosions

mother wife friend daughter special needs activist jack of all trades, master of none impulsive crafter builder doer always a starter sometimes a finisher chocolate lover reader dreamer believer laughing crying loving living dwelling in happiness

Posted on April 2, 2015, in Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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