I want a renaissance to shine a light Be the change we want to set things right We’ve been waiting in the dark for so long Hi everyone, I’m Amythest And let’s talk about Autism Acceptance
Month. Well, here we are again. April is almost upon us. And as many in the autism community know April is when Autism Speaks comes out
with a vengeance with their autism awareness campaigns the Light it Up Blue campaign, in which
people purchase blue lightbulbs and worldwide monuments are lit up blue and of course this is supposed to raise
awareness for autism and then to raise funds from that awareness. April means those sad and negative and
really pessimistic campaigns about autism those terrible commercials, Light It Up
Blue, all of the Autism Speaks rhetoric cure culture going on. All this focus on the suffering of
allistic parents of autistic people all this focus on “we need to find a cure” and comparing autism to a disease,
an epidemic. It is all very negative and frankly it
gives me a headache too. What is an autistic and our allies to do? But something I love about the autism
community Autistic people and our family members
and our loved ones and our allies is that we can take this really negative
Autism Speaks brand of awareness and turn it around I’ll put a bunch of links in the video
description. So if you want to read up on the history
of Autism Acceptance Month, please do. But basically the idea of Autism
Acceptance Month is to combat and also to complete Autism
Awareness Month. Because awareness, in theory, is great. People should be aware that Autistic
people exist. The problem is when awareness happens
without acceptance to balance it out or without real
education. And sadly, in the case of organizations
like Autism Speaks, and other non-autistic or parent-led
organizations their awareness is often misinformation. So while I think most people who light it
up blue or who wear autism awareness shirts or who support Autism Speaks are coming from a place of love and a place of wanting a better world
and a better future for their children, it’s really going about it the wrong way. Because what this awareness has done is
made people aware of autism, all right aware of how they should be scared of it aware of how having an autistic child will
destroy marriages and tear families apart and people are certainly aware of what non-autistic people think about Autistic
people. That we’re sick, we’re kidnapped, we’re
missing, we’re broken. That we’re suffocating under this layer
of autism that parents somehow have to fight and combat and all that’s really negative and all that’s untrue And this is what’s happening is that this awareness without real education and without any love or acceptance is actually contributing to the stigma and
fear of Autistic people This culture of cure, this negativity,
this Autism Speaks rhetoric actually hurts the autistic community and instead of generating what should be acceptance and awareness you get awareness and fear or awareness and anxiety and when absolutely everything you hear
in the media and on the news and from Autism Speaks is about how tragic autism is and how autism devastates families and how autistic people will never lead
fulfilling lives and that we can’t love and that we’re absent and we’ll never
connect with people in a meaningful way that actually contributes to the
abuse against autistic people it contributes to and kind of justifies the mistreatment of autistic people and it really does justify these really awful, not
scientifically-sanctioned therapies and treatments that people use
to try to “cure” autism because the message that comes out
during Autism Awareness Month is really that autism is worse than death that having an autistic child is one of
the worst things that can happen to you and that’s why we need to find a cure. Autism Acceptance Month combats that by giving a much more balanced and much more holistic picture of autism and what it is. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is
involved in Autism Acceptance Month. And their goal is to spread real education what autism really is and what people with autism spectrum
disorders are like and what it is that our goals are. For example most parents I know
want their children to be able to
get an education. They want equal education opportunities
for their children. Awareness?
Not gonna bring us there. In fact, awareness, in and on its own with that fear and that misinformation
that’s getting spread might actually hinder autistic people’s
attempts to integrate into society and to be accepted because there’s the awareness without the acceptance. Autism Acceptance Month is also a great
time to actually highlight Autistic people rather than non-autistic people talking
about us without us. So in April, for Autism Acceptance Month lots of our allies and our parents and
other autistic people more and more every year are taking to social media like Facebook and Twitter and their blogs and they’re pointing people in the
direction of actual Autistic people. Who are speaking about their experiences and organizations led by autistic people like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the Autism Women’s Network and in doing this, in amplifying the
voices of actual autistic people and giving them a platform to share their
experiences you’re spreading not just awareness that
autism exists but you’re enabling people to see autism
from an autistic person’s point of view to understand us and to realize that we are full, whole people that we possess full personhood that we deserve the same rights and opportunities as everyone else that we have feelings and we have thoughts
and we have motivations that non-speaking autistics, while they might not be able to
communicate with their mouth parts they are communicating via AAC there are non-speaking autistics who have blogs on the internet There are non-speaking autistic advocates who are campaigning for a better more inclusive, more accepting society
for autistic people. You can give people an opportunity
to get to know Autistic people. Because the way it is now, it’s a lot of non-autistic people talking about us without us thinking that they need to speak for us and that’s really not the case autistic people, whether they can talk
with their mouth parts or not need to have the opportunity to speak for
themselves and they should so Autism Acceptance Month is a great
opportunity to highlight actual autistic people to spread our writings to share our voices and to let people get to know us So you want to support Autistic people and you want to celebrate Autism
Acceptance Month? What can you do? Well, you can go to the Autism Acceptance
Month website which gives lots of resources on
what autism is, why acceptance, ideas for activities or
events you can put on during Autism Acceptance Month You can use the opportunity of April and
Autism Acceptance Month to share the voices and writings and views of actual Autistic people. You can find out if there’s an ASAN
chapter in your area because they might be hosting an event
or doing something fun for Autism Acceptance Month and you can donate to your local
autism organization not Autism Speaks keep the money local and help actual
autistic people and families of autistic people
in your area or you can donate to Autistic-led
organizations. I’ll link to a few below but some include the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the
Autism Women’s Network and there’s a cool research group which partners with autistic adults and does actually really good research that benefits the Autistic community that’s called AASPIRE. So these are just some ideas for
how you can celebrate Autism Acceptance Month and support autistic people to fight this negativity, this fear,
this hate and to promote acceptance and inclusion and real understanding ’cause when it comes down to it Isn’t that what we all want? for our autistic children or our autistic friends or our autistic loved ones or ourselves? To be accepted, to have the same
opportunities for happiness as everyone else? That’s what I want. I’ll be celebrating Autism
Acceptance Month this April, and for every April to come. And I hope that you will join me. Happy Autism Acceptance Month, everyone! I want a renaissance to shine a light Be the change we want to set things right We’ve been waiting in the dark for so long Subtitles by the Amara.org community