5 thoughts on “AAW #1: Autism Awareness

  1. Can I be a bit controversial? Where do you stand on those people who think we don’t need to raise awareness because they don’t believe the condition exists for anyone other than the mostobvious (those children/adults who are non-verbal, have uncontrolled movements etc) or those who use the old chestnut ‘we are all on the spectrum, somewhere’?

    • Yay, controversy! I’ve never come across people thinking that autism is only non-speaking (non-verbal’s a contentious term for various reasons on the forums I’m on), physically disabled, and “low functioning” (ugh), and far more who just think you’re the Rainman or something. It’s about stereotypes, a lot of the time, which is where the real awareness comes in – listening to real autistic people about their real lives and experiences. If people don’t acknowledge that part of the spectrum that encompasses people who one might call “high functioning”, I think it’s actually just plain incorrect, so I stand where I always do on incorrectness: it should be corrected, but politely and in a reasoned, backed up manner. The thing with “we’re all on the spectrum somewhere” bothers me a lot too – I don’t really know what the aim of saying it is, but actually, the point of being autistic is that we have a diagnosis that says we are different, we have needs, and we process the entire world differently. Negating that difference by putting it in with the rest of humanity is counterproductive, in my view – you can’t celebrate or deal with difference if you don’t acknowledge it.

  2. I agree with you about listening to autistic people. The problem is, I think, that many people don’t have the opportunity to do so. Or perhaps the autistic people around them have not declared themselves so. Did you see the channel 4 programme about employment for autistic people? It was quite touching when the chap was offered the job after a trial period. Just shows that there is a place for everyone as long as there is tolerance and understanding. With regards to the ‘all in the spectrum somewhere’ thing…I have heard this so many times from people who have not had first hand experience of talking to autistic people. It seems to be their own excuse for what they percieve as odd behaviour. My response is usually along the lines of ‘no, that’s called individuality. Personal quirks do not necessarily put you on the spectrum’. In my job I have definately become more atuned to the subtle signs some children show before diagnosis. Very different to individual personality quirks.

    • To be honest, autistic people are speaking loud and clear all over the place, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to hear them if you look. The fact that it takes a fair amount of looking to find them is a problem in and of itself, no question, but we are talking more and more about what it’s like to be us, including my meagre contribution here. I haven’t seen the program you mentioned, but I have heard of it, and you’re right, tolerance and understanding is often the key.

      I agree with the difference between personality quirks and spectrum traits wholeheartedly. I’ve only ever encountered the “everyone’s on the spectrum” idea in conversations where people are casting shade on the idea of diagnosis, and basically trying to argue that autism isn’t a real thing, which is why it makes me quite as irate as it does. It’s usually used, in my experience, to justify a position and try to walk back attempts to invalidate the idea of autism and diagnosis, which is just generally not OK.

  3. Pingback: AAW #6: Autism Acceptance – C. E. Queripel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s