I really hope you’re ready for a whole lot of autism.
April is Autism Awareness Month in many English-speaking countries, and many of us #ActuallyAutistic folks have an issue with the way we’re often portrayed during this time period. “Autism awareness” all too frequently translates to “being aware of the affliction of autism.” When we don’t consider ourselves afflicted, generally. Some of us suffer with physical difficulties, such as seizures or food allergies or other medical conditions, that happen to go along with our being on the spectrum. But just having autism is NOT what creates our “affliction.”
To us, we just ARE how we are. Our normal IS having autism. We don’t know anything different. Some of us don’t care for that status quo, and some of us would change it. But most of us don’t see the need. And all we want is to be ACCEPTED for taking that point of view.
We don’t need to conform, we don’t need to become just like everyone else. We can bring so much value to this messed up world simply by being ourselves.
There’s a push in the #ActuallyAutistic community this spring to TAKE BACK the month devoted to “raising awareness” about us. We’re going to call it Autism Pride.
So, throughout April 2019, every post I make on this blog will be dedicated to something about autism. Once or twice a week, I’ll pick a topic and share all the positives and negatives, all the “it is what it is” of the subject.
The prevailing theme for all of this WILL be taking pride in being autistic — no matter what the rest of the world says. No matter how hard it gets sometimes. No matter how much we do struggle.
It took me most of my life to figure out I’m on the spectrum. And when the realization finally did come, it was AMAZING. All the human behavior and perspectives I never could understand, now I got WHY I didn’t grasp it. The environments and hobbies that made me squirm because of the noise and heat and too many other people all made sense. I stopped feeling the push to apologize for wanting to be introverted, for not wanting to look at other faces the entire time I was talking, for not joining groups or having a very small social circle. I no longer cared if I wore makeup, high heels, or dresses more than twice a year. I embraced sticking to my comfort zone, at last comprehending that all my boundaries had developed from a very real physical reason of protecting my extremely sensitive nerves — not at all from shyness or stubborness or a refusal to adjust. I wasn’t what required adjusting.
Knowing that, for the first time, finally, felt LIBERATING.
For years, I’ve been speaking up on behalf of my autistic son, fighting for his acceptance in a world that would rather change him before tolerating him. Now I’m also fighting for myself, and for the next generation of ASD girls, so that they can be heard, and not have to spend their lives doubting, fearing, aching.
Neurodivergence is the civil rights platform most of us never thought we’d have the opportunity to stand on. Now that we are, and on the cusp of turning the corner, we can’t give up. We’ve been abused and mistreated for decades, and at last that’s being exposed and shamed. It’s not too late for our children to have a great life, their strengths applauded, discrimination scaled back.
Who’s with me?
3 thoughts on “Get Ready For Autism Pride Month”
All things are possible.
I am always proud of you, Daley!
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Thank you so much, Icky!
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meee!! I actually had never heard anyone call it Autism Pride until this year and it I just…got so emotional when I saw someone tweet a giveaway like “for autistic pride books!” and I’m like YES THIS IS LOVELY. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of posts to blog, but I’m excited to actually do something this year. 🎉
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