Awareness efforts very often do more harm than good to the autistic community. Listen to us, not people talking *about* us.
Originally published in the Medium publication, The Ascent. If you’re a member over there, I sure appreciate claps as that’s how we’re paid. (You can do 50!)
Everyone knows autism is a thing now. It’s been aware’d.
The problem is groups like Autism Speaks haven’t made people aware of what autism *actually* is, instead having the effect of “BEWARE of autism” — that organization even put out a commercial about how autistic children destroy their parents’ lives.
We don’t need a warning. We are not threats.
We are human fucking beings.
We need people to know we have different needs and when people push them it can have dire neurological consequences.
We need people to know that problems with executive functioning don’t mean that we’re stupid, it just means you need to give us a second.
We need people to know that if they’ve met one autistic person, they’ve met ONE autistic person. (The spectrum is already colorful, #colorthespectrum peeps, the problem is that no one is interested in all of the different hues!!)
We need people to know that “curing” us would mean that we’re no longer born.
Autism is a neurotype. A type of brain.
The only thing that could “cure” it would be on the lines of eugenics or genocide.
I’d love for there to be more research done on ways to prevent meltdowns, tamper sensory issues, and other tricky aspects of the neurotype — but sorting all that out would not “cure” us.
We’ll always be different.
We’d still approach things differently, also referred to as “thinking outside the box.” We’d still speak directly, which can be very useful in a society where facts have become debatable! We’d still miss things that seem obvious to NTs, and still notice things that they/you do not.
Diversity is an evolutionary strength in nature, and human beings are no exception to this rule.
Please help us rock our differentness, please help us to thrive so that we may better contribute to society.
Read the stuff we write, watch the videos we make, and otherwise engage with the #actuallyautistic population.
(We’re here! We’re chatting away, even if it takes a keyboard!)
It is not okay to listen to people claiming to speak for us. It is dangerous.
This. Is. Important.
To those promoting harmful NT ideas of “awareness,” please, please for the love of freakin’ god, use your voices and platforms to shed light our community itself, people who are #actuallyautistic.
Please stop hurting us with this puzzle piece bullshit.
It’s already hard enough.