We're rapidly approaching the month of April which means you'll be seeing people post 'autism awareness' images and 'lighting it up blue'.
You will also see the Autistic community and their allies bitching about it.
See, 'awareness' sucks. 'Awareness' is prevalence rates and tragedyspeak and 'we need to find a cure' crap. It's a money grab by Autism $peaks and the scarier they can make the 'awareness', the more cash will flow into their coffers. And Twizzler Challenges? No.
*Image description: Super cute little girl with blond hair, pink sunglasses and a pink tee shirt that reads 'Autism Speaks does NOT speak for me'.
We're all about 'Autism Acceptance' up in heyah. Acceptance is understanding that it's not all doom and gloom. That, yes, some times are really rough but many are beautiful and full of joy and that's what we should focus on. It's learning to embrace difference instead of merely tolerating or even trying to eradicate it. It's understanding that maybe that 'spoiled brat' screaming in the checkout line is really an autistic child who is experiencing sensory overload and giving them a kind smile instead of the stinkeye. It's understanding that children don't magically outgrow autism and that you have probably known autistic adults in your life and never realized it.
So, what is autism? Autism is a little girl who sang so much her parents didn't realize she couldn't talk. It's a little girl who is terrified of seeing someone sweep with a broom but loves to use a broom herself. Autism is listening to Gangnam Style, on repeat, every time we went anywhere in the car. For four months straight.
It's the Wiggles Christmas DVD year round.
It's belly cuddles and bracelet collections and spontaneous giggles.
It's a child who notices everything and forgets nothing.
And she'll swipe your phone in a heartbeat.
It's the 42 year old woman who spent her life being told that she was crazy only to discover that her brain really does work differently from others. And that it doesn't mean she's broken. It's the 42 year old woman who doesn't understand why the world works the way it does but can instantly understand why her child can't tolerate going into a BJ's Wholesale Club.
It does not mean Rainman but sometimes I do hear,"Uh oh, mama!", hundreds of times in one day.
Autism means that 'hundreds of times in one day' is not an exaggeration.
Autism also means that your mother's mail carrier's autistic cousin probably doesn't appear to be anything like my 4 year old. Or myself. There is no One True Autism.
Autism is not all rainbows and unicorns all the time. It is disabling to some degree on even the best of days. I will never post about many of Evie's struggles because being 4 years old does not mean her dignity should be ignored. If she wants to talk about them in a blog someday, that's up to her. I don't mind talking about my own difficulties. I'm pretty much an open book but I don't always work,"I had a meltdown yesterday and beat my legs with a hairbrush", into everyday conversations.
I kinda want to now, though. "Did you see last night's episode of Supernatural? Wasn't Cas hysterical? Speaking of, sometimes I scream and cry and pull hair out of my head when I'm overwhelmed."
Or not. *sigh*
So what did we learn today? Acceptance = Good. 'Awareness' = Bad. My kid is all kinds of awesome and she wouldn't be herself without her autistic neurology. Me? Every 6 months or so I manage a minute or two of awesomeness but, yes, I wouldn't be me without my autistic brain, either.