Autism Awareness week. It happens once a year.
I won’t be wearing any blue, not even blue underwear, because I don’t want to associate with autism $peaks.
There are many other colours. Some people are celebrating Autism with red, some with gold. I myself will be celebrating with purple butterflies. Why? because I love the colour purple and because butterflies come in many various shapes, sizes and colours. Like Autistic people they are beautiful, they have their own nature and they are an important part of the world.
Autism awareness week is all about raising awareness of what Autism is. A lot of Autistic people don’t just want awareness but also want acceptance too. This makes sense as understanding what Autism is doesn’t help Autistic people unless people also accept them for who they are. After all, understanding doesn’t bread acceptance, although it does go a long way towards helping it. There are people who accept Autism without understanding it. Having either one is a good step in the right direction, having both is brilliant.
I personally would like people to understand the way my mind works, my differences and quirks. I’m not too bothered about acceptance as, for me, whether people like the way I am or don’t won’t have any affect on my self-image. However, a lot of people want others to accept them for who they are. This is important for many reasons, especially for those who have been put-down in the past (or even recently) for being different.
This year for Autism awareness I will be changing the colour and picture of my blog, my facebook page and my facebook profile to match my version of Autism awareness. I’ll be celebrating Autism alongside my Autistic people as they celebrate in their own ways, whether they are lighting it up gold, red, blue (for personal reasons as opposed to A$ because why should they get to dominate that colour) or any other colour they want including rainbow style and light it up colour.
I feel Autistic people should have the say in how they celebrate a week that is focused on them. Why should non-Autistic people get to dictate to us how we and our families celebrate our uniqueness. That doesn’t seem very fair.
So if you are Autistic please feel free to celebrate your life however you wish to. If you know someone who is Autistic then please feel free to ask them how they want you to celebrate their life. Because it’s not just about raising awareness, it’s not just about gaining understanding, it’s about feeling free to decide how we want to see ourselves, how we want others to see us. It’s about autonomy. And that’s the best damn thing you can give a person.