xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: What is this "autism" you speak of? I was not aware of that!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What is this "autism" you speak of? I was not aware of that!

Disclaimer: I keep writing and rewriting this because I can't seem to make it not sound like I'm an asshole. So, I decided to stop trying and just start with an apology: I'm sorry I sound like an asshole here. This is just how I feel and I apologize if you're offended by what I say. 

Disclaimer #2: Please feel free to disagree with me, by the way. We're all entitled to our opinions and I have NO problem with you telling me yours. 

Today is the first day of Autism Awareness Month. Tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. You're supposed to do stuff like make your Facebook profile picture blue, or put a little twibbon in your Twitter avatar, wear a blue shirt or get blue light bulbs for your house (that one is actually pretty cool. Hubs, can we get blue light bulbs for our house???)

I'm not going to do any of those things. (But I totally support those of you who are, by the way; hence the asshole apology above).

If you're reading this blog, following me on Twitter or one of my Facebook friends, chances are good you're already pretty aware of autism; I'm not really sure that adding a twibbon is going to change any of that. I understand the purpose of the month, though: to get people talking about autism and therefore raise awareness! (oh, and also so that Autism Speaks can have a great fundraising month). I'm sorry but I'm just not a believer in Slacktivism. I don't see the point in having a blue Twitter avatar. It already says right there in my profile that I have a kid with autism, shouldn't that make you kind of aware right there? If you weren't aware of autism, and you saw me walking down the street, would my blue t-shirt suddenly make you aware?

And why the color blue? Is that because it's the color of Autism Speaks' logo? Yes, I think that's why, since they're the folks behind this, aren't they? I have nothing against them, myself, but I know some autistic adults who say "Autism Speaks doesn't speak for me." Are we excluding these autistic adults from the whole "awareness" scenario as a result of our blue Facebook profile pictures? I don't like that kind of "awareness."

Thursday afternoon I was at school picking up the kids and a staff member stopped me. They're worried about her granddaughter and she had a bunch of questions for me. I stopped and talked to her until the bell rang when I had to go. This kind of thing happens to me all the time; people stop me, or they call me, or they email me, etc. I always take the time to talk to them, to tell them about my experiences and what I know, and I always try to follow up with them.

This is how I raise awareness about autism, and I do it every day; not just one day or one month out of the year. I'm going to do it next week and I'm going to do it in May, when Autism Awareness month has ended. And my Facebook profile picture is staying as is.

EDIT: So, after all my posturing, both Child 1 and I ended up wearing blue shirts today. Does it still count as awareness if you do it accidentally?