If you’re autistic, “Autism Awareness Month” is a special kind of hell.
(CN: this article frequently references ableism as it specifically relates to disability and autism.)
In a month that is theoretically about raising awareness of issues that affect me, my kids, and my community, I am invisible. There are very real issues affecting the autistic community: abusive therapies and “cures,” culture-wide sympathy with caregiver murders, and the total lack of acknowledgment that autistic kids eventually become autistic adults and have specific and individual support needs, to give some of the many, many examples.
But instead of focusing on those issues, Autism Awareness is focused on questions like whether autism is caused by vaccines (it isn’t), whether or not there’s an autism “epidemic” (there’s not), and whether or not Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is abusive (it is). Instead of focusing on us—actually autistic people—this month is about those around us. Our siblings, our parents, the poor neurotypicals who have to deal with us day to day.
For just a minute, think how it would feel to have every day of a month directed towards telling you that your life is a tragedy. If you can’t see how much that would hurt, I want you to think about what the word empathy means before I hear it misused for the 60th time since April started.
(Continue reading at GeekMom, where this article was originally posted)