Friday, April 1, 2016

Let's Radicalize Autism Awareness Month, Motherscratchers!

I hate Autism Awareness Month. I know the educational pieces produced for this month are intended to help non-autistic people understand more about what it's like to be on the spectrum. But I sometimes feel that these efforts also make it so that non-autistic folks know more about the spectrum and, therefore, are even more relieved that it doesn't affect them or their kids. Perhaps I feel this was because every April I experience an uptick in messages that say things like, "I don't know how you do it." The authors might as well be saying, "Thank God, it isn't me."

Martin and I don't really need the world's awareness. We need the world's transformation. So I would like to declare April "Get Your Shit Together Concerning Autism" Month. This process involves four easy steps, which can nicely correspond to the four weeks in April.

Step 1 - Learn about autism in its many forms.

Step 2 - Commit yourself to becoming familiar with and close to people with autism.

Step 3 - Commit yourself to being comfortable around people with autism and their families.

Step 4 - Become a positive presence around people with autism and their families.

This week, I'll post some resources related to Step 1. I'll start today where all my undergraduate students start their inquiries: Wikipedia. I'll add some more interesting stuff in the coming days: journalist pieces about various therapies, videos by adults with autism, some books about the history of this diagnosis, etc. There's a lot of stuff out there that can help you understand the many ways people inhabit the spectrum. But that is only the first step.

Martin has two behavioral therapy appointments a week. He takes medication. He has endured thousands of hours of speech, occupational, behavioral, horse, and talk therapy. He is already working hard enough. It's your turn, readers. Get ready to get your shit together. The world will not get better for people with autism if you know more. It will get better when you change.

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