Autism Awareness Done Right
The Advocate-Messenger, a local newspaper in Danville, Kentucky, has done just that by publishing a guest column by an autistic student intern, Lizzy Miller, who writes about her experiences and her view of autism awareness. Here's an excerpt from the column:
T.S. Eliot was right: April is the cruelest month.
So maybe the lilacs haven't bloomed yet, and maybe any dead land in the area has turned into mud by now, but the principle is the same: April is one of the most unintentionally cruel months of the 12.
It's Autism Awareness Month.
I, for one, am acutely aware of autism, and I don't need a special month to think about it, because I am autistic…
…I am one of the autistic adults who is proud to be fighting for the autism acceptance movement.
"Autism awareness" is not a laudable goal. Awareness is cheap. Anybody can put a puzzle piece magnet on his car and call himself "aware." Being aware and accepting of autistic people as people instead of puzzles takes more effort.
The column is very well written and is worth reading in its entirety. Three cheers for Lizzy Miller for being brave enough to put herself in the public view and to stand up for autistic pride, and another round of cheers for the Advocate-Messenger for recognizing its duty as a news organization to present a respectful view of minority communities and to refrain from the careless stereotyping that we have seen too often in the media.