April 2 is Autism Awareness Day.
It’s also my yearly reminder, and I will remind on this every year.
We need more than just “awareness.”
Just because you’re “aware” of something doesn’t mean you’ll do anything meaningful about it.
It’s a good start, but we’ve already started. We need to move on to the next steps.
Some stance this as autism acceptance. That’s a little better in the right direction.
But does that mean we’ve been unaccepted? Am I unacceptable somehow? It’s a sad indictment, but often true: we don’t often fit social norms, we struggle in many ways that baffle people, and even our expressions often jars people at a subconscious level — if it’s not “normal,” it’s not “accepted.”
We could use more acceptance, sure.
But we need to go beyond awareness, beyond acceptance.
It is too late for Hunter Hansen, so let me pivot away from me for once.
Think of your autistic son, daughter, friend, or loved one. Imagine their teacher, employer, anyone close to them.
Telling you they’re aware of them.
Saying they —sigh— accept them.
What would you want to hear instead?
Whatever that would be: that’s what we autistic people need.
More than just ‘awareness.’