April 2nd 2019, was the day of Autism Acceptance or Awareness Month. I want to be real and honest with you all that I do tend to struggle with this month of what we do for people with Autism as there’s been so many different opinions of what this month should be called. Question is that we need to ask ourselves should it be called, Autism Acceptance Month or shall it be called Autism Acceptance month? I believe that now in 2019 that there has been a lot more of Autism Awareness more than basically Autism Acceptance.I believe wholeheartedly that a lot of people are now aware about Autism or should be at least knowing what Autism is really about as there has been so many people advocating for this and much more. There has been as I am aware that alot of awareness has been spread around on social media and many other ways as well.
As I have shared in one of my videos about an organisation that many autistics and anyone that has heard of Autism Speaks that has been dehumanising us Autistics by trying to find cures and creating fear on some parts to what they have been trying to send as messages like Vaccines causes autism and yet, it is now been proven that this isn’t the case anymore as more studies has been researched about this. I have also shared this in one of my videos which you can watch here. (Reference: Autism and Vaccines/Is there a link? )https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KANmvPfxrE4.
*Reference: This is a quick brief history of Autism and Vaccines to gain a better understanding as well.*
Especially with the ones such as Autism Speaks that many autistics don’t wish to hear about to raise money to “raise awareness” on this day. I won’t try and get into too much detail to why this is as you can watch this video I made above me to find out more to why that is: (*reference: Aspie Let’s Talk- Why WE SHOULDN’T support autism speaks- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOdgoXz3pkg).
I don’t light it up blue like many of you that may do but that is okay as that is your choice as I decide to try and go for a color like red or gold to light up or wear as a form of acceptance in April *that is if I can find my clothes in these colors- little laugh.I would like to try and allow this month for me as an Autistic as a month of Autism Acceptance because yes we all do have a lot to do with Autism Awareness and that there’s a lot of it being spread. I believe now is the time is the best time as any to have as acceptance. I believe that this month should be shared of Autism Acceptance not just in April but all year round. I believe that we should now start to accept others that are on the spectrum no matter where they are in their life and to accept everything about them in who and what they are not just as autistics but as a person. After all, we all have our strengths and weaknesses – just like you neurotypicals. I believe it is time for us to start accepting that are going to grow as Autistic Adults and for some that will need to stay away from some of the dangers of certain testing of empty promises of cures. There are often times that as we know that there are some dangers and that sometimes I have found that some people still maybe in oblivion that people with Autism needs to be get rid of as if we are a disease, we are broken and can’t be fixed etc. Yet, again that goes back to what I was saying about being accepted as a whole of our everyday flaws and imperfections.
Advocacy as you know by now from me is what I am aiming and striving for as much as I can on my channel to remove the stigma and stereotyping along with creating a platform of mine that is based on acceptance and inclusion from all people in all walks of life especially with people like me with Autism. I have heard from some parents, carers and more that there hasn’t been much of a way of us Autistics being included and accepted in everyday life. I have heard that many people are saying either autistics that are either high or low functioning gets all the attention and I believe that not many people are aware or educated enough about the more severe cases of the ones that has autism. The ones for whom that they can’t seem to speak for themselves so that they have their parents or carers to speak on their behalf.I believe that there are a lot of people that should be now aware of that there was a diagnosis for people that was under the umbrella or spectrum called Aspergers Syndrome which this is what I was diagnosed with but now it is classified as Autism as well.I mentioned a little bit about the Diagnostic Manual in this playlist which you can watch here: ( Reference: *https://www.youtube.com/watchv=Z5SXTqMHEXs&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ410885hWwrshBsfIFbqvXC)
The four different types of autism
Note: Not all children, young adults and adults will have the same characteristic traits.*
I have also mentioned about the differences about Autism Spectrum Disorder or as what others wish it to be called Autism Spectrum and Aspergers which you can check it here too- Reference- High Functioning and Low Functioning Autism/What is the Difference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSmhWW4gZ1c.
I am forever grateful that I’ve spoken to some autistics in the community to hear their stories as well as watching some of them on my channel. I am forever grateful that I can relate somehow in some way to what they go through of their everyday struggles. I know that we all have our own struggles that we have to face and that this doesn’t mean others that aren’t autistics go through struggles of their own. Heck! Of course, we all do. It is all about how we go about it in our everyday lives about how we act and think about it all. We need to ask ourselves or each other what can we do to help others on the spectrum. Some of the advertisements, posters etc that are trying to raise awareness isn’t helping many autistic adults,children transitioning into adults or even families that has children on the spectrum yet mainly it is the autistic adults or teens especially that need to be focused on more.I believe that there’s a need to do more in that area of awareness as we grow into adults that some of us autistics does require more help and assistance. I believe that we need to teach people that having autism or autism in general isn’t that scary. It isn’t a disease. Teach others that people with autism aren’t monsters or that they aren’t broken as that need to be removed of that way of thinking.We need to teach parents to get a diagnosis of Autism early and having that label is an actual great aspect. Because, it can open doors of opportunities if we are given that chance to shine and to prove to the world of our gifts that we have as autistics. This can also help open doors to many resources that we may need to assist us in our everyday life as well as meeting our full potential. I believe that as shared earlier to remove, smash the stigma and stereotyping that comes with having Autism. That won’t happen until other people’s attitudes and thinking about us Autistics starts to change and again accept us for who and what we are! I can’t stress it enough that we all need to try and find a way to smash out the stigma and breakdown walls of stereotypes once and for all. We are in 2019 and there’s a need for change in everything that we do and say towards one another. I believe that we need to help one another and to be kind to one another to understand and accept each others differences no matter who and what they are – Autistic or not! We shouldn’t have to live in a world where we should think and act the same way. We are all born different and that we all have a voice and that we were all born to stand out if we choose to live our lives differently. Yes, it can be difficult for us autistics especially trying to live in a world of expectations of how others wants us to be. We all have gifts, talents and a purpose in life. It’s all about what it is and what we are going to do with it all. Not all brains work the same way. Maybe, we all should band together now and focus more on acceptance than awareness. But, if you are spreading awareness let others know that autistics are awesome! People on the spectrum often will and have faced challenges in life no matter what. Like with some of the characteristics of autism communication difficulties, socialisation difficulties, making friends, reading body language. This is just some of the traits that they may commonly show yet not all autistics will. We shouldn’t ignore the difficulties that they face yet to embrace them as well as their flaws and so much more. We are a part of your community regardless of this label. We are here and we are a part of you! We deserve the right to be here as well as you guys. As the quote some of us live by “No different, no less!” rings true.This has been touted by the autism community as a widely recognized mantra as to what autistic individuals have to offer to the world. Children and adults with autism look at the world differently. Autistic individuals may have different strengths and weaknesses than the general population, but it does not make them any less. If anything it makes them more! I have shared my view about if anyone wants to cure me and I don’t wish to be cured as yes, I may have some faults and flaws, so, don’t you all but the truth of the matter is that we should be able to accept them and I don’t wish for a cure as this is who I am and what I am today. (Reference: Should there be a cure for Autism- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbjMKpwbUWU). Short answer in conclusion is NO.
To end this with you all that are reading or even watching this as it goes live: I will continue on my channel and anywhere you see me to share my life stories and experiences with autism and some mental health conditions to advocate and educate as this is what I love to do. Most of the videos I hope to do is all based on Autism Acceptance more than Awareness as well because that is what the world needs as well as us autistics as a whole needs!
I know that this has been a long time for me to write in this blog of mine which a lot has been happening since last year.
You see I have been busy trying on my own to raise awareness as well as acceptance for Autism Awareness month and that at this moment of time where I am in NZ I have been trying to source out some funds to make this happen as well as many other future projects/plans for myself and my channel of what is hopefully to come that I hope to bring onto my channel yet I am needing your help if you are reading this.
As you are aware if you have been following me I create videos on Mental Health and Autism and not only does she creates them, I also advocate and I as said briefly earlier need our help in any way possible.
To advocate, educate
and mentor others on and off the spectrum as well as mental health.
per what it reads above in my purpose as an advocate, I will do my utmost best
to achieve everything that is required of me to do of the duties at hand.
for educating others, I will lead by example and to give my intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone), typically
at a school or university.
Or to give (someone) training in or information on a particular subject. For example, in this case, I will plan to educate others that are interested in learning more about Mental Health as well as Autism Spectrum Disorders and also to raise some awareness around this along with the understanding of it all.
Mentoring: With all of this that has been shared so far, I believe that I should be trusted along with giving sound advice based on my own experiences in what I’ve been through that others are willing to learn and grow from what they go through to be or to become better people in the future.
By supporting others that it will be my duty to do my utmost best to find the right means of support through myself or the organization that I am working for and assisting others to be sure that every need is met.
To remove the stereotyping thinking that Autism Spectrum Disorders is a mental disorder.
To remove the myths about Aspergers Syndrome & Autism.
To create an understanding of what Aspergers Syndrome is really about for me while living with it.
I would also hope that with our help that with Autism Awareness coming up if anyone of you are interested who are in the same niche or not to wear a t-shirt of hers as support during Autism Awareness month and that have the hashtag of #autismawareness2019#nolessnodifferent in their videos or what have you. As well she is trying to find anyone that does live streams that do support this for now and hopefully with whatever amount she makes via through the stream as well as selling her shirts to the viewers that a certain percentage goes back to the organization as well here in NZ.
Before Autism Awareness month if anyone is willing to help design a poster to place on my Facebook page as well as many other social media/pages as well as anyone that could be interested in spreading the word about this and much more. I know that this is a bit of a stretch but we believe that with your help and teamwork anything is possible.
I have also been trying to get some collabs done as well but this can wait after the first week or two of April to begin them again if any interested based on some of her icebreaker questions to get to know you and your condition and spreading awareness that way and then also if brave enough to share your story more about this in a documentary format style video. You can view her channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWKw1HpNsu_EyAhhEJrayyw…
She has also just recently put her website she wishes to get done on hold unless anyone is willing to assist with this and as a return you can get a shoutout on her channel and word of thanks via through her Patreon page to raise funds. Her site for what she has been using as a blog page to become a website is: https://lifeofanaspieweb.wordpress.com/
My store she has just created and is now live is www.spreadshirt.com/life-of-an-aspie. Feel free to check it out to show your support. I have also just created a few other items that people may wish to have in their collection for either my branding or even just a form of Autism Awareness which you will see when you do visit the above link.
Another support is my patreon page as mentioned to raise funds and there should be something for anyone at any cost. Show some support by visiting and sharing most of these links to others visit it at: https://www.patreon.com/AspieAnswers
Other places that you can reach her is: Discord:Mini_Aspie #4666 Facebook:AspieAnswers Twitter: @aspieanswers Instagram: @aspieanswers
Thanks for your time and feel to reach out to me for any more questions or would like to assist me! Also, I will be sharing more of this via on my live videos as well on my social medias later tonight or tomorrow as well as on my channel for this and other videos too. Do keep an eye out on this and also spread the word to others!
Everyday is a struggle for many of us autistics as well as our fellow peers that are going through something of their everyday mental health problems or just something
that they need to try and fight the fight. We are therefore lacking in some parts of the world people who can advocate for others that are in dire need.
It’s a shame really when you look at this as something need to be done yet sometimes there are reasons to why people doesn’t want to help each other nowadays as
the world or mostly people are there for themselves and not others.
Just recently I heard about the hype for a movie that is called, “Please Stand By”. It is about an autistic young woman living in California. I won’t give any spoilers in case you have or haven’t watched it as for myself. I have heard good things about this movie but it got me thinking about why advocacy is so necessary. Attitudes toward the autistic woman were very much that she had no capability to live independently and little to add to the world but as the film unfolds it becomes clear that the young woman is highly talented and resourceful. I was impressed to hear about a female that is portraying Autism of what her everyday life is like as an Autistic. Don’t get me wrong. There need to be more showing of female roles that acts as autistics as there is a long way to go for doing so. As we know that there are many male roles that has been portraying Autism. Not trying to sound biased or sexist here far from it. Just speaking my thoughts or in this case writing down my thoughts on this topic. I’m not sure of the disability politics of the filmmaker but I will hope to watch the movie trailer or something and share my thoughts and reactions to the movie. TBA. One person, mentioned that it had Applied Behaviour Analysis which were very hard for them to watch. Yet, there will be varying opinions on this topic alone which I may talk about or write later. When the film finished I said to my move night visitors ‘I need to write a blog post about this.’
In fact my blog post is a bit broader than the film in itself. I am not a movie reviewer! No, far from it. I am your normal everyday Autistic/Mental health creator sharing her thoughts and experiences based on some important topics that hasn’t been shared before or may have but thought to share my very own insights as well as a little bit of my experiences. Take them or leave them. Yet, this is how I see and feel the world differently to others and am sure that many of my fellow Autistics in the community may agree. The thing which struck me the most about the film after someone shared with me briefly trying not to giveaway too much about what it is all about from start to finish is that it demonstrated quite well why advocacy is so important.
The film showed this through:
Highlighting that many people view autistic people as incompetent and like perennial children There are ‘therapies’ for autistic kids which essentially mirror training a dog. This needs to stop. Why does it need to stop? Because we are still humans and that how it depicits about us Autistics that we are almost like nothing to others. That this is demeaning us to who and what we are as Autistics and to some of the Autistics in what we may stand up for into what we believe in. Autistic people often have so much to offer the world but this is not noticed or understood by many people due to some lack of knowledge and understanding of what autism is and how the people who has Autism really function on a day to day basis. As I shared before, I can’t stress it enough that every autistic you meet will be different. There is still a view that autistic people have no feelings or empathy.That folks ISN’T ALWAYS TRUE. Many autistics do feel more deeper than others and that they take on a lot more from others too. This viewpoint about us with no empathy towards others also has to stop.
In terms of the ‘real’ world, I have been advocating and educating others on YouTube since 2013. Things have certainly changed since then boy has it ever and it’s really daunting and disgusting after hearing to what other fellow autistics go through on the daily and that they don’t get heard. Even if they did try to speak out they get slammed down from either their peers or just the Neurotypicals but there are still things which really need attention. I myself – and presumably other autistic speakers – used to only be viewed as a token or the ‘colour and light’ when I have now had the courage to speak with the help of the Social Media along with networking with other Autistics but now there is a growing knowledge that autistic people are the experts in autistic experience (I know hey, who would have thought??!). There are autistic-led organisations like Yellow Ladybugs and the I CAN Network doing great work in empowering autistic young people along with maybe a few more that I can’t think of right now but just to name a few. Autistic viewpoints are often featured in the news media and not only as ‘human interest’. I see these developments as good things.
However, there are many areas where things require significant work. These areas include:
We are mournfully underrepresented in employment numbers and in Australia they are almost six times more likely
to be unemployed than the general population. Less than 10 per cent of New Zealanders who have been diagnosed with autism are in full-time employment –
but a new programme hopes to change that. She estimated there could be about 80,000 New Zealanders on the autism spectrum who were looking for work.
The figures were in line with international research which found about 2 per cent of the population had an autism diagnosis but only about 20 per cent of those people were in full-time employment. Yet, there is hope for us NZ Autistics as there’s something that may assist us. I will discuss and write more to what I said/wrote later but back to this at hand. Reasoning behind this is not usually because we are unskilled or unemployable but due to a range of factors some structural and others related to the attitudes of individual employers and there being a load of unwritten rules at work that we do not understand or notice. This means our skills and talents may be overlooked and employment can be difficult or impossible when in fact this does not need to be the case.
We have far lower education attainment levels than the general population. Our children often leave school due to bullying or other
issues and simply never go back due to alot of reasons as fear of rejection, fear of getting
bullied again and so much more. Higher education can also be a fraught place for autistics. While schools seem to be getting a bit better at
inclusion there is still a long, long way to go to address these issues.
Some autism organisations have what I term legacy thinking, meaning that they once had a good message but now have outlived their usefulness.
These are often the organisations who have no autistic representatives on their board or who promote ‘awareness’ events which are exclusionary
such as ‘light it up blue.’ Which I won’t discuss here the reason as that again can be saved for another video or blog post.
Organisations supporting autistic people really do need to be genuinely inclusive themselves.
Accessing healthcare is a real utter nightmare for many autistic people and families. Health settings such as hospitals can be terrifying and exclusionary
and medical professionals can be ignorant or even arrogant about autism and do more harm than good. I’ve heard so many stories
from other autistics in the autistic community to how they are treated when in hospital etc. It is so bad that many of us elect to not access
treatment even when we need it. At the very least, training for medical and psychiatric staff needs to include some autism training as
part of accreditation and qualifications.
Gender diversity and sexuality:
Gender diversity and sexuality are a significant consideration for many autistic people. However, attitudes around sexuality and gender diversity can be stuck in the dark ages a lot of the time, especially for Disabled people. Some believe that we are all cis gendered and asexual or heterosexual or whatever sexuality that they chose to become. This goes across all the items listed here – in employment, education, healthcare etc. There needs to be much more advocacy and understanding in this space to ensure young people grow up safe and autistic people are seen as who we are in terms of our whole identity, whatever that may be. Wider society has a lot to learn about autism and autistic experiences. Sensationalist pieces in news media and stereotypical autistic characters on TV do nothing to help. We need more representation of autistic experience and also autistic characters in TV dramas who are not white cis gendered heterosexual middle class men. Attitudes around disability and other differences need to be improved on a societal level too. That’s adds up to a lot of advocacy needed! Thankfully there are now quite a lot of us working on these things. When I started, there were a handful of us in Australia and in other parts of the world but at this point in time there are so many autistic advocates and activists and also some genuine allies coming from a place of respect and listening, supporting this work in supporting others as well as including others in the group or niche.
Neurotribes author and someone I consider a very awesome human being, Steve Silberman, described the Neurodiversity movement as
‘the civil rights movement of our time’. I like this analogy. I think drawing parallels to civil rights is a useful way of looking
at the way forward. I absolutely long for the day that I will not be needed as an advocate along with many other Autistics that has raised their hand up
to spend their time helping others because we will have achieved all we need to.
It is important to understand though that nothing is set in stone. This stuff is all up for grabs, making it so important to advocate and
be a strong presence fighting ableism and discrimination. We don’t know the future but we can help to shape it.
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a ‘therapy’ for autism that is discredited by many and has been known to result in post-traumatic stress for some of those it was used on. Based in a rewards and punishments model, it seems more concerned about making children look somehow ‘less autistic’ than actually supporting their development.
Behaviour training focuses on making kids stop stimming and often forces eye contact. We definitely do not condone ABA in the Autistic Community whatsoever. We as autistics should be able to be able to be ourselves and be able to stim etc. After all, we are still people not animals!
Today, in the series of journey through the mind, Lydia from life with Lydia is sharing more about the medication series. This one is about Lorazepem. Feel free to view my channel and show your love and support for us both.
Come and join me and see what this is all about as l take you all in Feilding, New Zealand of an event that has been done for the last two years. This event was organized by Sarah Blythe who has an autistic son and wanted to raise funds for NZ teachers in training them to understand children with autism.
Over the last year or so, a few Autistic members have been ghosting their way around the online autistic community with good intentions. Not to be all stalker-y here, honest, but they wanted to find a constant thread that the authentic, Actually Autistic voice spoke. This is not only intended to be just for the month of April. The idea is to have a common thread that runs through all groups, advocates and supporters that was easily recognised, different and came from the autistic community, not from those who think they speak for us. The Gold Infinity is for use on ANY work, event, campaign, fundraising, whatever! It is meant as a symbol of authenticity, declaring support for acceptance all year round and stating this message came from an authentic autistic voice. We can self-police those who may abuse it. Social Media is a wonderful thing… So how did we get here? The Âû suffix has become quite common in its use as it uses the Autis(tic)(m) = Au* = Gold idea to self-identify and as a community had started #LIUG, Light it up Gold, in response to Auti$m $peak$ (A$). This was not the only use of Gold or Au we found, but it was the most common and seemed to have struck a loud chord in many groups and individuals in other countries as well as the UK.
*Au is the International Chemical Symbol for Gold from the Latin name Aurum. The only other colour in serious contention was the Red Instead idea, also formed as opposition to A$, but without the larger base of support Gold had acquired. Nor did we really find a reason for red past experience, its opposition to blue (A$) and it makes for a great hashtag. There was no direct symbolism with Autism we could find amongst its supporters. I should take the time to make it very clear that the idea here is not to replace or ignore others efforts and campaigns and symbols. We support them for their commitment to acceptance and the work they do to achieve this. We ALL contribute to the whole; we ALL support efforts in raising awareness of Acceptance from any who support Actually Autistic people. Neurodiversity
The use of the infinity symbol came from the growing popularity of it in spectrum colours to promote Neurodiversity. The idea of endless possibilities and untapped potential resonate through this symbol providing a simple and recognisable concept in one. Autism is itself a spectrum, but we were looking for a unique identifier (without needing to ‘cure’ it). So the idea of combining the two came to the fore. If Autistics use Gold, then other Neurodiverse communities can use their choice of colour too. Slap it on an infinity symbol and it makes up part of the Neurodiverse Spectrum. We hope this concept is also pleasing to the other unique Neurodivergent communities out there. At the end of the day, you can design your own version and use it how you wish as long as it is an authentic voice using it to promote acceptance and abides by the guidelines. It is Gold and it is an infinity symbol. It is for Acceptance. Autistic UK and other organisations and advocates have banded together to support ‘Going Gold’ for Autism Acceptance.However, there are guidelines…nice and simple ones. 1. You use the gold infinity symbol on ‘Going Gold’ campaigns and fundraising stuff. Design and size does not matter just as long as it is gold and an infinity symbol. I have put Autistic UK’s version, which reflects our logo, below as an illustration, design your own if you like. 2. Call for Autism Acceptance. Awareness is spreading and UK local authorities and housing associations and Service Providers etc have finally got the hang of awareness, so time to turn to the next, Acceptance. Please Note: The autistic community does not support ANY abusive, quack ‘cures’ like MMS/CDM, GcMAF, Chelation, turpentine, ABA or any other abusive therapy used to obviate our autistic identity. If you support any of these things, please do not use the gold infinity symbol as you will be stealing our voice for your own purposes and not benefiting autistic people at all. Finally, and not a guideline but a constant; No one person or group owns this campaign. It is a gift to all user led groups, autistic advocates and allies whoever they may be from a collective of autistic groups and individuals. This symbol comes from a collective autistic voice and is given freely to the autistic collective out there. So grab your gold infinity symbols and start pushing. Have a Gold theme to your events, Go Gold and spread the word, wear gold and share on social media, it is up to each group and individual to spread the symbol, message and colour of acceptance as they wish. There are no political boundaries here, so anyone in any country who supports Autism Acceptance is invited to participate.
One last request; please do not put your gold infinity symbol on a puzzle piece or combine their use. We don’t like puzzle pieces. Like awareness, they are sooo last year! Let’s not debate anymore about the jigsaw puzzle piece and just accept what others want!
For a while now, I have been coming across a series of articles as well as people from the Autistic Community on Facebook talking about how a majority of the number of people in the Autism Community no longer like the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that has different shapes of what may have been seen either on a ribbon, heart, butterfly or even just a single jigsaw puzzle piece as a symbol for people with Autism. This has honestly surprised me, as I wasn’t aware of any negative connotations to the symbol at the time before I was being told about this. There has been a bit of misunderstanding between Neurotypicals and Autistics about Autism Awareness Month that has now been called “Autism Acceptance month”
What I have written below more about what it is and so on.
What is Autism Acceptance Month?
April is Autism Acceptance Month. During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and autistic people.
Autism Acceptance Month promotes acceptance and celebration of autistic people as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members making valuable contributions to our world. Autism is a natural variation of the human experience, and we can all create a world which values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds.
In a nutshell, Autism Acceptance Month is about treating autistic people with respect, listening to what we have to say about ourselves, and making us welcome in the world.
You probably know an autistic person already. Get to know us a little bit better.
How did it get started?
Autism Acceptance Month takes place every year during April. The first Autism Acceptance Month celebrations were organized by Paula Durbin Westby in 2011, as a response to traditional “Autism Awareness” campaigns which the Autistic community found harmful and insufficient. “Autism Acceptance” as a concept has a history as long as the Autistic community itself, dating back to Jim Sinclair’s seminal classic “Don’t Mourn For Us” and perhaps most visibly popularized by Estee Klar’s “The Autism Acceptance Project.”
Because autistic people are your friends, family members, children, partners, co-workers, fellow-citizens, customers, and neighbors.
Because autism is a natural part of the human experience.
Because autistic rights are human rights.
Because autistic people can speak for ourselves, and we want you to listen to us.
Because we aren’t going anywhere.
Because this is our world too.
Because there are all kinds of minds, and this world is big enough for all of us.
To me, the collection of brightly colored irregular shapes represents many things. First, it reminds me of the difference in how I see the world as well as may be of the minority of Autistics that does like this feature. When I do a puzzle, I’m assembling an overall picture. When any autistic that does a puzzle, they’re assembling a series of connecting shapes. I would have a lot of trouble with a puzzle like a ribbon above, but some would see it as perfectly normal. So it makes me remember that how some of the Autistics may see the world is different, but no less valid, than how I do.
Second, it symbolizes the many things that need to come together in order to help people with autism. Different people and therapies, times to push and times to accept, sensory enhancements and challenges, attitudes, explanations and tools. No one group, practice or therapy has all the answers and everyone’s puzzle will look different, but it is possible to put it all together. Autism is a team challenge and requires not just a village, but an entire city of cooperation. (I realize this touches on the “cure” issue, that offends some people as it implies people with autism need to be fixed, but disregarding the challenges that many people with autism have is offensive to me, more on that later.) I talked about why we shouldn’t support Autism Speaks in this video – which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOdgoXz3pkg
Note: I may do a video at some point to talk about Autism and Cures if we need any yet I think I did one on my channel somewhere that would be found if it was under “Aspergers and Autism Help Central Playlist”
Third, I like bright colors because it stands out, much as people with autism do. But just as the jumble of colors might be initially offputting or confusing, as people become used to it, they can see the beauty and interesting parts.
Now, some of the objections are valid. People complain that the puzzle (especially with the primary colours) is juvenile, either infantilizing adults with autism or ignoring them completely. Others dislike the symbology of a puzzle with a missing piece, implying there is something missing or needing to be fixed. Others feel that since autism is a spectrum, then the symbol should represent that (usually using a rainbow).
Then there are the objections that I have a problem with. A lot of the objections center around Autism Speaks, which uses a puzzle piece as its symbol. I dislike how Autism Speaks presents autism and their confrontational, melodramatic approach, but I also don’t feel that one organization gets to co-opt the entire movement. If we have a problem with Autism Speaks, then we need to deal with them, rather than trying to come up with a new symbol (which they would inevitably pick up anyway).
And finally, there is the anti-cure crowd, which is mostly made up of high-functioning people with autism who resent the implication that their way of seeing the world is any less valid than neurotypicals. There’s a valid issue there, but what bothers me is when they claim to speak for all people with autism. Someone who was able to learn to communicate and who can function independently in society has a very different view than those who need intensive help to learn even the basic skills of interaction and function. For that person to then judge the second (or the second’s family) for using therapy and claiming that the therapy isn’t necessary, that’s offensive. To me, this is rather like someone on crutches claiming to speak for all people on the handicap spectrum and saying that ramps aren’t necessary because he or she doesn’t need to personally use a wheelchair.
I have also in my defense have like the point that there are some other symbols now in representation for this month of Autism Acceptance and they are the infinity symbols of both in color and in gold.
In the end, I feel that the puzzle is still a good symbol for people with autism and the challenge. Because, the most important aspect is that no piece is the same as any other, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all work together. I guess also that to end my thoughts is that sometimes we need to be aware that yes we all have our own opinions on that matter hence why I did a video based on this about this symbol should it stay or should it go which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yxb5ewqYIY.
Yet, again we are all people and should be able to accept the differences of thoughts and opinions from everyone. Don’t you agree?