By: Abigail Dressell
This is the cry heard from autistic individuals across the globe. Autistic people have heard hateful things from society, like “Autism is a disease that must be cured!” This must be stopped. We need to raise our voices and tune out the voice of oppression that tells us we can’t make a difference, that we can’t make a change.
What is autism?
The CDC defines autism as a “developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.” This means the autistic community tends to think differently and see the world in different ways.
What is Autism Speaks?
In the autistic community, there are organizations that are seen as positive and negative. Organizations may be negative if they don’t truly provide monetary support and advocacy for autism, or if they are trying to “end Autism” rather than help autistic individuals. One example of a positive organization might be Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN). A negative organization would be Autism Speaks. There is a huge difference in the way these organizations deal with autism. While ASAN supports autistic people by paying for therapy, Autism Speaks spends almost half of their budget researching a cure for autism, suggesting that it should not exist. Many autistic people are enraged by this line of thinking and rightly so.
What can I do to help?
One of the most important things is to talk to autistic people. You can support organizations that help autistics. Instead of lighting it up blue, let’s go red instead, or even gold!
Instead of just being aware about autism, let’s accept and appreciate autism!
Support people with autism in your community. Help if asked, and be understanding and sympathetic. Make your voice heard, and support autism. On embrace.autism.com, it says, “If you are looking to affirm the voices and lives of the fabulous autistic people around you, look for an autism-positive way to do so. The autistic communities have chosen their own color choices and logos. Red. Gold. Please do not “light it up blue.” That campaign is now regarded by many autistic people as a hate-campaign because of its links to an organization that wants a future with no autistic people (a cure for autism). As autism awareness increases in the coming generations, it’s up to us to support appropriate movements!