What Is Autism Awareness Month?
For those of you who aren’t aware, April is officially known as Autism Awareness Month.
Throughout the month of April, several charities will create campaigns and events which are said to create awareness of autism. Unfortunately, this is rarely a positive thing, hiding harmful connotations behind seemingly innocent campaigns. An example of this is the ‘light it up blue’ campaign by autism speaks, an American charity which campaigns for an autism cure and donates only 4% of what they raise to support autistic people and their families.
It’s hard to understand why we even need awareness anyway, when a 2015 survey by the National Autistic Society revealed that 99.5% of people in the UK had already heard of autism.
However, the same survey also found that an astonishing 73% of autistic people felt that they had to change their own natural behaviour in order to receive tolerance and acceptance from the public.
Perhaps, then, it is in better faith that we regard this month as autism acceptance month, because the above statistics are only two of many out there which show that we’re still a long way off of true acceptance.
Until autistic people are no longer regarded to as worth less than their neurotypical peers, or treated as though we are one puzzle piece away from a perfect brain, we will never be truly accepted within society, and that needs to change.
In order to do my bit and contribute to raising an understanding of the developmental condition I have, I plan to write a series of blog posts throughout the month with both facts from other sources and my own personal experiences about life with an autistic brain. I hope to show that my brain isn’t something that should be feared or discriminated against, and my worth as a human isn’t affected by the differences I have.
I hope that over time, autism acceptance can lead people to the conclusion that we don’t need to search for a cure that doesn’t exist. Autistic people don’t need a neurological brain in order to have a function in society as opposed to understanding and acceptance that many of us actively crave. I also hope it proves to people that this being autistic isn’t a death sentence, and understand the many advantages we autistic people have, too.
Until my next blog post,