It is this time of the year. Those people are talking about inclusivity and acceptance. It is the ‘World Autism Awareness Month’, or what I call the month, April. 2 April is particularly painful as it is World Autism Awareness Day. Even with pandemics and fear, I see nothing but even more fear mongering surrounding ‘autism awareness’.
When the largest autism groups you know still has the puzzle piece as a logo, you know it is not the organization you expect to contribute meaningfully in. Even if you do indeed have an advanced professional degree which can add to that said organization’s capacity, they not only do not let you on board, or speak up for you, they are complicit in their radio silence when those very kind of negative stereotypes and misinformation keep you down from fulfiling your potentials to your community. Then you know you cannot carry on, and you are stuck between the rock and a hard place.
At least in countries such as Australia and the UK, people still get heard and the injustices are at least addressed. I particularly like it that in the UK, with the general nastiness through austerity, Brexit and coronavirus, autistic people can be part of the positive force that do good and act for society. I will even go on and say autistic Brits present themselves as what would happen to ordinary Britsh people when they are systematically left out, they seem to be so resilient, they work even harder to prove their existence as a community and be the best they all can be.
This is what I aspire my ideal autistic community to be.
We do not want any form of pity or awareness. We just want to be able to do what is best for our society in our own way.
A major landmark with blue lighting alone is not going to bring good for autistic people. It is in the unseen forces, the seemingly invisible little things, that deliver real change autistic people need.
We want to be able to express and live out our lives in every setting we can, without fear or artificial restrictions. Knowing the practicalities, opportunities and limits all around us, we will be appreciative when we are able to cook and clean for our families, work in a job we enjoy and can do well, and participate actively in matters that affect us. Aren’t these very human needs? We may not be able to do some things without adjustments and accommodations, but thing is, we can.
Instead of awareness, how about a change in attitude. We, autistic people, like to contribute to society just like the next human being before and after us. We just want any and every opportunity we can get. And make the most out of what we have.
Then this April will be pass much quicker. After all, April should just be another month, maybe except if it’s your birthday.