World Autism Awareness Day

Yesterday was World Autism Awareness Day. Usually I would find some way to mark the day, perhaps by engaging in online awareness raising or encouraging work or school to raise awareness. This year felt different. Perhaps because since my own diagnosis it feels more personal. They’re talking about me and people like me and it feels oddly intrusive. I want people to be more aware and more accepting of diversity in all its forms, but being the subject of an awareness raising campaign makes me feel even more separate. I understand that we need the general public to know more and know better about autism, but they also need to know more and know better about a multitude of other disabilities, differences and inequalities. We need people to be respectful and understanding of all the wonderful and more challenging aspects of human life.

One day or one week is not enough. Schools, workplaces, medical and care providers, businesses, family, friends, strangers – all people and all services need to recognise and support the diverse nature of human life every day. There are people facing real struggles every day of every week, to access education, health and care provision. If you’ve got family members, friends, pupils, employees, customers or service-users the chances are some of them are struggling, some might be autistic, most won’t be. But if they’re struggling please do more than press ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons on social media. Please do something real and meaningful. And if they are autistic and you don’t know what you can do to help, just ask, we like direct!

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8 thoughts on “World Autism Awareness Day

  1. Agreed. And now I’m wondering whether there are one-day awareness campaigns for issues which I DON’T have a personal involvement with which I support for a day, thinking that is enough, when it is not…

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      1. Yes, but maybe it’s a question of distinguishing between those things we can actively support from time to time, through a donation perhaps, and those which involve continuous consciousness and awareness, like equal opportunity issues (and mothers!) 🙂

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  2. Thank you- I am learning so much! My 18-yr-old son was diagnosed at 16 with autism (Asperger’s had just been removed as a diagnosis). As a person who relies heavily on/enjoys reading social cues, I am trying to learn what his perspective might be like. Like you in a way, I feel I have no road map, no natural “manual” (as my son put it) to use to understand the world from his perspective. This is scary to me…my approach to people in general is to try to determine how they might see things and respond from there. How do I know how to support and help him when I naturally make the wrong assumptions? I’ve tried “direct” but he doesn’t often go beyond “I don’t know.” as a response.
    Please know that every insight into how you experience and process life is a godsend to me! I understand that each person is unique. But I need to assemble my own manual to refer to going forward. Your writing is a wonderful help!
    I’m following you on Twitter- I’m so grateful to be finding writers like you. I may not be in your tribe, but our connection can be so powerful beyond one day of awareness!

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