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This is my first post in the A to Z blog challenge.
Tomorrow (2nd April) is known to many as ‘autism awareness day’ and April known as ‘autism awareness month’ but to many autistic people it is known as ‘autism acceptance day’ and ‘autism acceptance month’
What’s the difference you might be thinking.
Well there’s a rather big one in both what the words mean and so often the organisations and message behind each one.
Awareness – knowledge or perception of a situation or fact
Acceptance – the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable.
Already from the definitions of the two words there is a great difference. To be aware of autism and autistic people, simply means you have knowledge we exist, it does not equate to thinking we are adequate or valid people.
The Westboro Baptist Church are aware of LGBT people, they know we exist, they however do not accept us, as to them we are not adequate or valid people. It is the same with many so called autism charities.
To accept autistic people means to actually think we are good enough as we are, that we don’t need changing or cures and to not promote changing us or curing us. It is to embrace the whole person, every single part of us and to not just tolerate us.
Accepting all autistic people, all of the time. I don’t want you to accept me only when i appear more neurotypical to you. I want to be accepted if I’m having a meltdown, or am non-verbal, when I am stimming, when I talk at you about the Tudor period. I want acceptance all the time, for me to be seen as good enough. As a valid and adequate person.
Autism acceptance comes from actually autistic people, where as autism awareness comes from autism speaks and other allistic organisations and people. Autism awareness doesn’t do good. Autism awareness is so often about changing autistic people to be more neurotypical, to make us seem like the problem and to push blame on to us.
As autism acceptance comes from autistic people, it is about embracing us as who we are. There is no wanting to change or be cured. It is about saying we are good enough as we are. We are valid, adequate and suitable people.
So accept me, all of me, all of the time. Don’t only be aware of me.