Hey everyone, NeuroRebel here. And you may know already that April is a month where a lot of people are going to be talking about autism, some of them may not even be Autistic.
This month as we jump into April, I just wanted to start by sharing, from an Autistic perspective, why you should not light up blue to honor and respect Autistic people.
Because it’s April, and there’ve been a lot of new people here recently, I want to just reintroduce myself.
My name is Christa. I am an Autistic adult, but I didn’t know I was Autistic for the first 29 years of my life.
That had a very big impact on me, my self esteem, my sense of self-worth my ability to cope and interact with the world, my ability to take care of myself, my health.
I needed to know I was Autistic.
It wasn’t until I found out I was Autistic that I was able to start getting my health back on track because I didn’t understand that, as an Autistic person, my health and my needs were different than that of other people.
I kept getting sick and there was no explanation for why I was getting sick, because the things that were making me sick were things that wouldn’t make non-autistic people sick. For example, fluorescent lighting, sensory overload, and sensory related triggers.
When you don’t know you’re Autistic, you don’t have the language around these things.
Here I am, four and a half years later, after learning I was Autistic at the age of 29.
I am now 34 years old. I’ve had enough time to process and understand what being Autistic means to me, because it is different for each and every, individual, Autistic person.
There is no one experience of what being Autistic means . We are unique people and we all experience the world in a very unique way, although there are some things that many of us find in common with one another.
Let’s go ahead and dive in the number one reason you shouldn’t light up blue.
The light of blue campaigns supports an organization that was founded in 2005 in the United States that is widely known for their harmful blue puzzle piece logo. This organization has a very bad history for speaking over Autistic people and silencing the people that claims to speak for.
They are the same organization that is known for having a very long, problematic, history of perpetuating harmful stigmas about Autistic people, demonizing autism in its early infomercials. Their gloom and doom type of stories and narratives, talking about how Autistic kids are going to ruin their parents’ lives.
If you want to learn more search, I Am Autism or Sounding the Alarm – Battling the Autism Epidemic. – I mean, the title is bad enough, right? Autism epidemic. There is no autism epidemic. That’s a whole nother video.
If you’re Autistic be prepared for a less than great experience. I highly do NOT recommend either of those videos.
This organization and their blue puzzle logo helps to perpetuate myths that only little boys are Autistic.
This ignores the fact that people of any gender can be Autistic and that adults can be Autistic, and that the kids that are Autistic are going to eventually grow up and become Autistic adults, and they’re not going to grow out of being Autistic.
We evolve into fully grown Autistics. We don’t turn out neuro-typical, in the end, and we’re not giant children when we grow up.
It’s very infantilizing, this puzzle piece.
These big autism organizations use these fear mongering, awareness campaigns, to do a lot of harm to Autistic people, because they are spreading false information and fear and further stigmatizing Autistic people and Autistic behaviors.
Even worse is that they are, often, used to promote harmful Autistic conversion therapies, ABA, or other quack, cures to parents of newly diagnosed children.
They do this by convincing parents that they need to act sooner rather than later, to give their child the best chance in life, preying on a parent’s hopes to give their kid the best start, the best chance in life. That’s what you want as a parent.
The early interventions frame the Autistic child as the problem. Then they intervene in the child’s natural, Autistic, development, teaching Autistic kids to hide their Autistic traits, their needs, and their tendencies in order to make neurotypical people feel more comfortable.
This sends a message to the Autistic person that their needs don’t matter. “Your needs don’t matter as much as the needs of the people around you” – obey, and you will be rewarded like a dog waiting for treat for giving handshake to a stranger.
Conversion therapies to make Autistic people more normal, less Autistic, more palatable to the people around them. It really stabs at the self-esteem of the individual, that who they are, naturally, isn’t good enough – they must always change to please everyone else. It doesn’t matter what they want.
That’s why, for many Autistic people, blue is a color that has been forever tainted by the harm of one organization – one organization with a lot of money, a lot of power and a lot of reach.
They’ve used that reach to do damage on a global scale.
That’s why I’m asking you, this April, “don’t light up blue.”
Go red, go gold, share your infinity, symbols and flags, and, whatever you do, most importantly, share videos and content from Autistic people.
This month it is time for Autistic voices to, finally, be front and center in our own narrative. The neurotypicals have been having the conversation without us for long enough. Thanks everyone. I think we can take it from here.
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