So, it’s World Autism Awareness Day – or, as the vast majority of autistics prefer to refer to it, World Autism Acceptance Day. (Check out World Autism Acceptance Month!) And what, one wonders, are the savvy, internet-connected autistics of the world wearing this month?
I can tell you one thing. It’s sure as hell not blue.
Now, I rather like the colour blue – it’s my second favourite colour after green. But not in April. There are two reasons for this, one general, one specific: #1) Autism Speaks (which does not speak for us); #2) the AS “Light It Up Blue” campaign.
#1: I strongly dislike Autism Speaks, and do not trust them, for the same reason that the majority of autistics do not. They use fear and demonization of autism to fundraise, and despite what the name claims, they do Not speak for autistics. There was one autistic on their board – John Elder Robison – and he quit last year because they didn’t listen to him and continued their fear-mongering ways.
#2: I’m autistic. That means I have sensory sensitivities, and one of my sensitivities is visual. Autism Speaks encourages people to “Light It Up Blue” for autism awareness. But you know what? Blue light HURTS me. It is physically painful – especially in darkness. Not to mention that their stated reason for the colour blue is rather ridiculous, to my mind (taken from the Autism Speaks website):In fact, it’s a lot more likely that you will see autistics wearing red – for autism acceptance – today, than blue. And there may be taupe ribbons showing up as well.
As for myself, I unfortunately don’t have any of my red shirts here at my weekday house (no Star Trek jokes, please), so I decided to actually wear taupe today. Not that I’m likely to go outside (aside from the snow shovelling I did at way too early an hour this morning), but that’s what this post is for. So, here I am, Toning It Down Taupe:
For more details about Autism Acceptance, the problems with Autism Speaks, and a parent’s view of things, I highly recommend A Diary of A Mom; Jess has some wonderful insights, a vast array of links in her posts about the subjects, and even guest posts. (And I also recommend the above links, except for really the Autism Speaks one, but I included that because sources are important.)
I’ve also gone and changed my Twitter image for April to the image from the Twibbon campaign for “Light It Up Red for Autism Acceptance”. (And interestingly enough, red light doesn’t hurt me as badly as blue light does. Likely because of the differences in frequency and wavelength.)
So, that’s today’s post. I encourage you to check out the links in this post, and also the blogs on my link page; there are a number of people who have spoken/posted quite eloquently about April and what it means to the autistic community, so I’m doing my part to signal boost.