Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on Feb 1, 2022. The video’s public release will be April 6, 2022 – over 2 months early!
Thumbnail image is of Lyric, a pale skinned nonbinary human, with short green, yellow, and orange hair, with shaved sides (in need of a haircut). They are sitting in an RV with dark wood panel walls. In front of them the words Autism Month in pale blue & green text.
By the time this video comes out publicly, it will be April: Autism Month, historically, Autism Awareness Month. Autistic people have tried hard to reclaim this as Autistic Acceptance Month.
As an Autistic Person on the internet, I really dread April. That is because I am Autistic all year round. I am out there talking about autism all year round.
All of a sudden, in April, there is this flood of non-Autistic People suddenly talking about autism from an outsider’s perspective. In April, there are a lot of people who want you to “be aware of autism” so they can sell you something.
They want to sell you services and therapies and things, because if they scare you, that autism is horrible, they can prey on that fear.
If you want to know more, please stay tuned.
As an Autistic Person, who is very heavily embedded into the internet world of autism, I feel as if April is this month where, all of the sudden, all of these people, who normally are talking about autism much less, if at all, are suddenly talking about autism.
A lot of them, because they are not Autistic themselves, or far removed from Autistic People, are often causing harm to Autistic People, when they go out and try to spread their “awareness of autism.”
One of the most common things I see happening, that is harmful, is people who are not Autistic, don’t understand the issues that impact Autistic People, sharing blogs and resources from harmful sources, such as parents who are violating their children’s privacy, by sharing things that you would never share about NeuroTypical child on the internet.
Or organizations, and therapy and service providers, that are putting out scary, fear and gloom, narratives, that will terrify people, if they read it… that says that “autism is this horrible thing, and if you might have an Autistic child, it’s going to ruin your life, and it’s going to be very expensive… and if you do have an Autistic child, you need to get this therapy right now, or else!”
What these non-Autistic People don’t do is often very harmful, because what they aren’t doing is amplifying Autistic voices. They aren’t letting Autistic People be at the center of the issues that impact us.
We aren’t allowed to be the face of our own existence, when people are constantly amplifying and sharing NeuroTypical perspectives and experiences of autism, that are based on perception of Autistic People from the outside, without getting input from Autistic People themselves.
Can you imagine if we had a women’s rights organization that didn’t allow women or had little to no women involved in it, and it was all CIS straight men, in charge of women’s rights issues?
Oh, wait, is that Texas? I’m joking. Just kidding.
It would go very badly if the people who need representation are not allowed a seat at the table to voice concerns over what they need to be happy, healthy, supported, human beings.
However, this seems to be standard place, if you look at a lot of autism organizations. They do not have Autistic People on their boards, especially those ones that are pushing all of these fear narratives, because nobody wants to be involved with someone that thinks you’re less than human, and you shouldn’t be allowed to exist, authentically, on the earth.
That is the other thing about April, Autism Month, is that Autism Month was started by these organizations, full of non-Autistic People, who wanted to talk about and spread awareness of autism.
Historically, if we look at these big charities that come up, when you Google autism, I can’t name them here, but if we look at those charities and then go look at their board and see, do they have Autistic People on their board? If it’s an autism organization, it should be a majority Autistic board, not one or two token Autistics, just so they can say, they’ve got one of us on their board.
There are Autistic people who are definitely out there, and willing to advocate against the best interests of other Autistic People, for money, to sell out to these organizations. Just call it Big Autism for now, as I’ve heard it called a few times. These big organizations, that profit off of the medicalized narrative of autism, a multi-billion dollar industry that profits off of people wanting to make Autistic People less Autistic…
April has, historically, been the month that they use to push out their fear propaganda against Autistic People.
So, if you asked me, “Do you like Autism Month? Do you like April?”
No. It’s it’s this battle that comes around every year, where all of the sudden the fear, the stigmatization, and the hatred for Autistic People becomes very clear.
April is not like June and Pride Month. I look forward to Pride Month. I enjoy Pride Month. Pride Months is fun.
April is something that I start getting ready for months in advance. It’s February right now, while I’m shooting this video, and I’m getting ready for April now, because I already know it’s going to be intense.
All of a sudden, everyone’s going to care about autism for 30 days, and then next month, crickets. They’re all gonna be gone… which is a little bit like Pride Month, and rainbow capitalism, and how all of the businesses go rainbow in June, and then in the next month, it’s all gone.
Yeah, not a fan. Not a fan of April. I’m not a fan of Autism Awareness at all. Awareness is not enough.
Being aware of something. “Be ware. Be aware!” Means knowing something exists, being aware of it, and doing nothing about it.
Where’s the acceptance? Where’s, where’s the love? Where’s the appreciation? Where’s the Autistic Pride? Awareness ignores all of that. Awareness is just this lazy half-ass first step.
It doesn’t help Autistic People, that you know, we are here, and you are aware we exist, if you don’t accommodate us, support us, and help us to right the injustice, that has been created by developing a NeuroTypical society, without getting input from NeuroDivergent People, Autistic People, and people whose minds work differently.
If you want to help Autistic People, you need to help us change the systems that keep us out of having equitable education, equitable employment, and fully enriched, happy, lives. You need to help us fight the stigma, help us amplify Autistic voices, and Autistic stories in April.
I beg you this April, if you are a non-Autistic ally, and you, really, do want to help Autistic People… please do NOT share anything that is written by a non-Autistic Person about autism, in Autism Month.
Please, if you’re going to share and engage in Autism Month, and you are not Autistic, make sure you are amplifying Autistic voices, so that we can, at least, have our own month, where we don’t have to sit on the sidelines, and watch people talk about us all month long.
All right. Thank you for hanging out with me with that one. I appreciate it. If you found this helpful, or you have a NeuroTypical that needs to hear this, or anyone that needs to hear this… hit that like button, and then hit that share button.
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I will see you all next week. Bye! .
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3 thoughts on “I Am Autistic & Don’t Like Autism Awareness Month”
“World Autism Awareness/Acceptance Day/Week/Month” (etcetera)?
Let’s start with our standard educators being properly educated on Autism Spectrum Disorder, especially when it comes to preventing the abuse of autistic students by their neurotypical peers and teachers alike.
I feel that not only should all school teachers receive mandatory ASD training, there should also be an inclusion in standard high school curriculum of child-development science that would also teach students about the often-debilitating condition (without being overly complicated). If nothing else, the curriculum would offer students an idea/clue as to whether they themselves are emotionally/mentally compatible with the immense responsibility and strains of regular, non-ASD-child parenthood.
It would explain to students how, among other aspects of the condition, people with ASD (including those with higher functioning autism) are often deemed willfully ‘difficult’ and socially incongruent, when in fact such behavior is really not a choice. And how “camouflaging” or “masking,” terms used to describe ASD people pretending to naturally fit into a socially ‘normal’ environment, causes their already high anxiety and depression levels to further increase. Of course, this exacerbation is reflected in the disproportionately high rate of suicide among ASD people. …
As a ‘difficult’ boy with autism spectrum disorder, ACEs and high sensitivity (thus not always easy to deal with), the first and most formidably abusive authority figure with whom I was terrifyingly trapped was my Grade 2 teacher (Mrs. Carol), in the early 1970s.
Although I can’t recall her abuse in its entirety, I’ll nevertheless always remember how she had the immoral audacity — and especially the unethical confidence in avoiding any professional repercussions — to blatantly readily aim and fire her knee towards my groin, as I was backed up against the school hall wall.
Fortunately, though, she missed her mark, instead hitting the top of my left leg. Though there were other terrible teachers, for me she was uniquely traumatizing, especially when she wore her dark sunglasses when dealing with me. And rather than tell anyone about my ordeal with her and consciously feel victimized, I felt some misplaced shame.
P.S. I’m sometimes told, “But you’re so smart!” To which I immediately reply, a bit agitatedly, “But for every ‘gift’ I have, there are a corresponding three or four deficits.” It’s crippling, and on multiple levels!
I thought of a hashtag for allistic people who do respect us for who we are and allow us to be our own autistic selves: #AutismAlly
FYI, the reason why there is Autism Awareness Month is because there are some people in this world that don’t know what autism is, hence the awareness part!