Author Archives: loveexplosions

“I Don’t Want Your Awareness”

This was first posted on Ollibean and is written by Amy Sequenzia.

I don’t want Autism Awareness. Actually, I fear Autism Awareness because it only makes the world fear, hate and ignore us, one blue light, one puzzle piece at a time.

Autism Acceptance. Everybody has something  to offer and do contribute when supported. Amy Sequenzia on Ollibean

It is April again. The month when Autistic anxiety increase is directly proportional to the “autism awareness” marketing strategy.

I am not being hyperbolic or snarky.

In April, sales of blue lights and puzzle pieces, appointments with therapists that promise to make Autistics “better”, interviews with celebrities that “support autism”, the parade of “experts” on our TV’s, views of articles – in newspapers, magazines and websites – about us (always without us) and about our “deficits”, increase.

All this comes attached with the Autism Awareness Month reminder.

All this also brings the stigma, the fear mongering, the bias, the pity porn, the hate towards Autistics.

All this elevates the voices of non-autistic parents (often times martyred parents) and professionals, while silencing our voices.

Our anxiety increases, we use most of our energy to send this simple
message: “we are here, we are human, listen to us”.

It is extra draining in April because “awareness” is so loud and scary, we need a lot more strength. The organizations that raise money by using fear of our neurology, double down on the hateful rhetoric. It stings harder, it cuts deeper, it hurts more.

Awareness says: Here is your child. Unfortunately this is a defective child.

Maybe, if you work with this kid hard enough, you will be able to have at least a tiny taste of the joys of parenthood. You will need a lot of money. I am sorry for you. Good luck, don’t expect too much.
Acceptance says: Here is your child! Congratulations!

Awareness says: This is the list of all of your child’s deficits. Good luck, I am so sorry.

Acceptance says: Here is a list of things your child might do differently. Since Autistic brains process things differently, the best approach is to listen to, and observe the child, making necessary accommodations for her to achieve full potential.

Awareness says: Your child cannot understand human feelings. Your non-verbal child will never say “I love you”

Acceptance says: Your child processes feelings in a way that might seem odd, but the feelings are real. The love received will come back, sometimes in a non-speaking way.

Awareness says: Correct those behaviors! Fix this mess! Acceptance says: Behavior is communication. Understand and respect.

Awareness says: Don’t trust the adults who “have autism”. They are too “high-functioning” to understanding the heartbreaking struggles of “real” autism.
Acceptance says: Everyone struggles. Seek your community/your child’s
community for input.

Awareness says: Those “low-functioning” people “with autism” cause too much pain. Burdens! Poor parents!
Acceptance says: Everybody has something to offer and do contribute when supported.

Awareness says: Beware of autism! It will cause havoc in our lives! All these people! How tragic!
Acceptance says: Diversity! Neurodiversity enriches our lives.

Awareness says: Donate to the awesome organizations that have all the pretty puzzle pieces and all the pretty blue lights!
Acceptance says: Support, include everyone!

See the difference?

Are you Aware of us, or are you striving to Accept us?

Because the two are almost opposite concepts.

– See more at: http://ollibean.com/2015/04/02/i-dont-want-your-awareness/#sthash.yrMSspKO.dpuf

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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.

A is for Acceptance