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Awesome April Autism Awareness Month

Awesome+April+Autism+Awareness+Month

I was diagnosed with autism 4 years ago, however I have always been affected by it so this is personal to me and there may be parts where my opinion may have come into play although I tried to avoid it. 

Autism awareness month has been an important part of the autistic community and the movement to de-stigmatize and support autistic people in everyday life for decades. While the community is a protected class legally there is still a lot of ignorance about it, examples can be how they view it as monolithic, how autism is seen as being stupid, or infantile. Autism is a mental condition that changes how the brain processes things- currently there is NO linked cause of autism although it is genetic. In 2007 April 2nd was officially recognized by the UN as World Autism Awareness Day, and in the US presidents have made comments celebrating Autism Awareness month.  

First let’s go through the facts to help clear some misinformation. Autism Speaks as an organization is harmful , they very often promote a cure based solution to the “problem” of autism. They continue to push the idea that autism is a horrible thing that ruins lives and is a devil that will take your child from you, they often focus on the plight of parents of autism instead of the autistic people themselves- this ties in with the fact that they spend very little of their money on resources to help autistic people- only 1% of income and over 48% went to pushing themselves per reports in 2020, and they haven’t improved 

The puzzle piece as a symbol originated with autism speaks but regardless of its ties to them the meaning stays the same, the idea that autism is a puzzle to solve- we aren’t able to be understood which ignores how often autistic people try and vocalize our needs and support. The prefered symbol is an infinity symbol with either a rainbow gradient or solid gold, the rainbow represents the spectrum that is autism and gold represents that autistic people have value and strength. 

Autism does not make one stupid, it doesn’t mean they are always blunt a-holes, it isn’t being good at math or being a nerd. There is many factors of autism because it’s a wide diagnosis- Autism Spectrum Disorder. Stimming can be a common behavior but not every autistic

Noah Hornbeak, the writer of this story! (Ellery Boyle)

person will, they could stand on tippy toes or do “raptor hands” but not all. Some can’t stand some food, others will. If an autistic person is having a meltdown it’s not because they are being dramatic or want attention, the way autistic people get information from the world can be overwhelming and things can feel wrong to the brain; it doesn’t help when autism can be heavily looked down on societally and people ignore accommodation requests. 

I will acknowledge the validity of the Autistic people who do wish there was a cure, it can be a truly terrible thing to deal with and it can make it difficult or impossible to live life on their own, the problem lies in the idea it represents because many Autistic people including me see autism as part of who we are, and it would feel wrong to change that.

 

Two quotes from a speech called don’t mourn us, written and delivered by Jim Sindclare at the Toronto Conference on Autism in  1993 that perfectly captures the autistic acceptance movement.

“We need and deserve families who can see us and value us for ourselves, not families whose vision of us is obscured by the ghosts of children who never lived. Grieve if you must, for your own lost dreams. But don’t mourn for us. We are alive. We are real. And we’re here waiting for you. ”

“Yes, there is tragedy that comes with autism: not because of what we are, but because of the things that happen to us. Be sad about that, if you want to be sad about something. Better than being sad about it, though, get mad about it–and then do something about it.”

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About the Contributors
Noah Hornbeak
Noah Hornbeak, Staff Reporter
Noah Hornbeak is a senior here at the high school. When they are not being a staff reporter for the Pipeline, they can often be found talking to friends or enjoying their final classes. Their hobbies include reading and tabletop roleplaying games.
Ellery Boyle
Ellery Boyle, Editor & Staff Reporter
Ellery Boyle is a junior and an experienced editor/reporter on the Pipeline. She originally joined the Pipeline for her interest in photography but found an interest in journalism. Boyle is involved in the swim and soccer teams and is also a member of the National Honor Society. When she's not working on the Pipeline she is probably baking or hanging out with her giant yellow lab, Max.
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