Happy autism “awareness” month everybody! If you are reading this and you happen to be autistic, congratulations! For the duration of this month, and this month only, the world is aware of your existence! It’s time to celebrate and – okay, that’s enough. Happy Autism Acceptance month, everybody. Moving on from my poor attempts at humour, for the duration of the month of April the world celebrates Autism Acceptance month. Though I do hope my readers excuse the fact that this article is coming out at the end of the month. I have never claimed to be the best at overcoming my own procrastination.
For those who don’t know me personally, I am diagnosed with autism and ADHD, meaning that I have a brain that both demands order and structure and also rarely follows it. Having a brain in constant conflict is simultaneously hilarious and frustrating, especially when it comes to motivating myself. Take a look at my release schedule and you’ll surely get an idea considering my posting quota. For me personally this means I often hyperfixate on a specific piece of media, struggle with certain daily tasks, and find social situations difficult to manage. The topic of autism as a whole is a vast and complicated one, one I could not nearly cover in detail. I cannot speak for an entire community even while being part of it, especially because autism is a spectrum. What I can cover in this limited format, however, is something relevant to this month in particular.
I’m sure at least one of you is aware of the phrase “light it up blue” associated with the month of April, and autism awareness in general. The concept essentially entails people wearing blue to show support to the autistic community. Seems like a good idea, right? Unfortunately, no. While the idea seems good on paper, the idea was curated by Autism Speaks, which for the unaware, is an organisation whose main goal is to “cure” autism. Surely you can see the flaw in that philosophy. They’ve released several commercials demonising the condition, each of which are just a blatant insult to the autistic community. One advertisement even showed a mother saying that she contemplated driving off a bridge with her child with autism, but only didn’t because she also had a neurotypical child. This was genuinely recorded and broadcasted. I wish I was joking. Furthermore, the colour blue is often associated with disappointment and depression. Doesn’t exactly scream “support and solidarity” to me.
So then, what should we do? How do we show our support without indirectly supporting what is essentially a borderline hate group? Well, you could show support in other ways, such as donating to autistic charities that actually have the community’s best interests at heart. But if you want to show support in a more subtle way, try lighting it up red instead. The “Walk in Red” campaign was created to boycott Autism Speaks, and help recapture the narrative of autism awareness and acceptance. Red was chosen due to its contrasting nature to blue, and because of its common symbolism of love, ambition and respect. So, dear readers, what do you choose? A campaign started by an allistic (non-autistic) lead charity whose main goal is the community’s eradication or a campaign actually curated by the autistic community themselves? A difficult decision for sure.
While the month may nearly be over, it’s never too late to show support. And even outside of the month of April there is no reason to not support the autistic community. We don’t disappear the other eleven months of the year, otherwise how else would I bring you my ever sarcastic commentary of whatever topics capture my interest? If any of you are interested in looking more into the topics I have covered, as always, I have linked some references below. Perhaps when the next article comes around I will have overcome my procrastination habits. Though I suppose I could always do it another time.
Millie Butcher, Chief Reporter and yet still unpaid, Lower Seniors
- – https://learnfromautistics.com/light-it-up-red-for-world-autism-awareness-acceptance-day / – why you should light it up red
- – https://autisticmama.com/do-not-light-it-up-blue/ – why you shouldn’t light it up blue
- – https://autisticmama.com/do-not-support-autism-speaks/ – autism speaks and why theysuck