So this month – April – is international Autism Awareness month. there’s a growing movement to make that Autism Acceptance month instead of awareness. I was just moved to write the following on Facebook as a public post and have just decided to put it here too.
“How do I get the words right?
To be aware of autism is good, just as it’s good to try and be aware of the challenges faced by transgender people or black communities or the homeless or… I could go on. Do I need to? It’s good to be aware, yes BUT it’s even better to accept.
I accept I will never intimately know the challenges faced by many other people each and every day of their lives. I accept that many people will never intimately know that challenges faced by autistics each and every day. I accept that I am different and that you are different. I want you to accept my differences, I want you to accept your own differences. I want you to treasure our differences! I want us to work together to make life better because of our differences and not just in spite of them.
Awareness is good, Acceptance is better.”
I know there are issues I am not very aware of but I try and improve my knowledge and awareness. I accept that as a white, British, cis-gendered, woman with no visible disability that I live in a world that gives me a level of privilege that I am not fully conscious of. I hope that even when I am not fully aware of the privileges I have or the challenges you may face that you feel accepted by me. I hope you feel I value you and the differences between us. I hope you feel accepted, treasured and loved exactly as you are.