Well, well, well, it’s that time of year, one where two passions of mine collide in a once a year meeting of poetic and spectral proportions.
It’s April 1st, a date that starts both National Autism Awareness Month and National Poetry Month, two things that (if you’ve been reading my Super-Blog for a year) means so much to me. Autism is something that I deal with everyday of my life and poetry is the way that I first discovered my voice, which I’ve not been shy in using ever since.
I feel so lucky; fortunate and blessed to be as high- functioning as I am, that being said, I feel as if the need of Autism Awareness vs. Autism Acceptance has been unbalanced as of late. What I mean by that I mean is that Awareness means acknowledgement of what a person has whereas Acceptance means understanding; getting to know a person as a person.
To put it another way, Kassiane S, from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (via the following link: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2012/04/acceptance-vs-awareness/) says in her article, Awareness vs Acceptance, that the difference between Awareness and Acceptance is:
…creating a sense of urgency and fear. Awareness efforts present us as a problem to be solved, and yesterday. Awareness operates in stereotypes and soundbites, not real people. Awareness has no substance; it is but a tool to earn more money to fix us and to promote yet more awareness.
She goes onto say that..
To accept us, people first need to acknowledge us as individuals-as three dimensional, growing, developed characters. We are not all the same, and we are not but a collection of deficits…
With that said, acceptance requires understanding on both parts, where communication can make the difference between progress and brushing aside our own preconceived notions about the other side, as she further states,
Acceptance requires facing that which makes you uncomfortable about us, thinking about why it makes you uncomfortable, and confronting any prejudice at the root of that discomfort.
Acceptance of autistic people, like acceptance of pretty much all people, involves moving past surface impressions. It involves trying to understand us, trying to know who we are, not just what our operating system is.
Acceptance is a two way street but for Spectrumites, it’s something that is so very much needed to break away from the norms that we deal with everyday. Autistic pride is another topic I wish to discuss later on, but acceptance is s great first step to help us all….