What a perfect sentiment. Friends don’t let friends Light It Up Blue. I saw this quote today on the Thinking Person’s Guide To Autism Facebook page. And so I asked if I (or more accurately as it turned out, my husband), could make a meme of it.
Friends don’t let friends light it up blue. Why? Because the whole concept sucks, from start to finish. I have blogged on this before, and sadly, not much has changed, so today, as we make this meme, and brace ourselves for April, I will limit myself to dot points.
* Light It Up Blue is an awareness campaign designed to scare people into donating money to Autism Speaks, a charity in the United States. People in Australia (and other countries) usually do the campaign to raise awareness (see below point on awareness), or to raise money for another charity and/or business and/or business pretending to be a charity. There are plenty of those last ones around, trust me.
* Autism Speaks sucks dogs balls. Despite over a decade of adults on the Autism Spectrum protesting, Autism Speaks still refuses to treat people with Autism like people. They still, to this day, make videos and have entire campaigns built around the idea that Autism is something to be feared. That if you do not donate now, Autism will take over the world. In a really bad way.
I mean – just watch this shit will you?
We are not taking over the world (yet), we are not to be feared, and Autism is. not. stealing. your. child. It is not wrecking your marriage (take some responsibility will you?), and it is not bankrupting you (accept your child, and those 40 hours of therapy you only think s/he needs will dwindle down to one or two – generally).
* For the most part, adults with Autism hate Autism Speaks. And slowly, parents of children with Autism (whether they have Autism or not), are also starting to see the light (edited – ha ha – that was totes not intentional), and start to hate Autism Speaks. It is a horrible charity. We feel sick when reminded of it. And so whenever there is any mention of “Light It Up Blue”, we are reminded once again about how the world sees us – as a burden. As something to be fixed. Or eradicated.
How would you feel if the whole world supported a campaign to have you eradicated?
* We do not need Autism Awareness. If people do not know about Autism by now, then the rock they are living under is not going to be penetrated by any awareness campaign. We need Autism Acceptance. (((For the die-hards, acceptance really includes awareness when you think about it anyway))). We need acceptance. We need people to know ways in which they can help facilitate our interactions with the world, rather than campaigns that teach them that we are to be feared. Or pitied.
Here is a video made by Autism Speaks three weeks ago…
Does this seem like an uplifting video to you? Why the focus on the life of the gentlemen who are not allowed a voice? They could speak, if allowed. If given assisted communication. If their caregivers were not so hell bent on “speech” rather than “communication”. Everyone communicates. Newborns straight from their mothers womb communicate.
Or why not hear the story of the young man making the video, who is also on the spectrum? Why didn’t we hear his story? No, that information was left for last. Because being inspiring doesn’t lead to donations.
Being inspiring is bad for business. And Autism Speaks is all about business.
And they don’t care who they hurt in the process.
You can learn more about the atrocities Autism Speaks is responsible for by having a look around the internet. Things such as not consulting Autistic people, not hiring Autistic people, and firing mothers of Autistic children when they need accommodations.
I support Autism Acceptance. I urge you to do the same. For all our sakes. You don’t need to spend money. Instead, write a letter to your local politician telling them how vital Autism Acceptance is, and that we need a funded campaign teaching the community about it. We need police to learn how to deal with people with Autism who are in crisis so that they don’t shoot and kill them. We need GP’s and other medical professionals to learn about the communication difficulties people with Autism have so that we can receive decent health care. We need the general public to learn that we are all different, that we are not all Rain Man, that we have strengths when we are given the supports we require to use them.
If you must open your purse, spend your money on a cup of coffee or a bunch of flowers for a parent of a child with Autism. Or take an adult with Autism out for coffee and have a non-judgmental chat with them. You might be surprised how much this can help. It’s the little things that count.