Saturday, September 7, 2013

Autistic Pride Day 2013

Today we Autistics celebrate Autistic Pride Day, if you are unfamiliar with this amazing celebration, I will now tell you a little bit about it.  Autistic Pride Day was started by Aspies for Freedom and first celebrated on June 18, 2005.  It is a positive day of celebration in response to the shame we are made to feel most days of our lives, the shame that many, but not all, Neurotypical people make us feel with their stares and critical words when we stim (rock or hand-flap) or talk too loud or when we bounce and jump around with excitement, etc. in other words when we are being our TRUE Autistic-selves.  No one should be made to feel ashamed for who they are, we are human just like you.  Ignorance is no excuse for prejudice or murder. 

I bring up murder due to the fact that many in the Autistic Community are still reeling from yet another act of extreme hatred perpetrated on one of our own, another Autistic was murdered this past week just because he was Autistic, and his name was Alex Spourdalakis.  His murder is not a rare occurrence in our community, if one takes the time to comb the virtual landscape one may unearth many more, Autistics are murdered all the time.  We are not “diseased”, we need no “cures”, and we are not expendable.  We are indeed normal and deserve to be treated as such. 

Take time to get to know us, verbal or nonverbal, we have much to share.  If we are unable to express words verbally do not push us to do so or become intensely frustrated that we cannot, instead introduce us to a form of Augmentative Alternative Communication, everyone has a need to be “heard”, it is a human right.  There are many forms of Augmentative Alternative Communication, give us a “voice”.  We are not less than you, we are just different and different is what makes this world an interesting place, if we were all the same this world would be very boring. 

Instead of pointing your finger at or laughing at someone who is acting “differently”, why not instead take a moment to understand them.  Understanding leads to Acceptance and Acceptance will make a better world.  Do not spend all of your energy and money (do not give to Autism Speaks) trying to “cure” us, or “fix” us in order for us to be more like you, instead get to know us on our terms and learn to accept us for who we are and how we are.  We are not the enemy, nor is our Autism.  Embrace differences do not push them away or exclude them.  Ours is a hidden disability.  Many in my community, verbal and nonverbal, are quite proud of their differences; as you know I am. 

Do not demoralize us or defame us or dehumanize us, instead accept us and appreciate us.  Celebrate our successes no matter how small they may seem.  What is needed is for society as a whole to accept Autistics for who we are, verbal or nonverbal, stims and all.  If we all work together we can make a better world. 

If you are not already Autistic and Proud, today is a great day to start!  Happy Autistic Pride Day everyone!

Something fun, join music therapist Veronica May (A.K.A. “Miss Veronica”) to learn about being proud, a BIG part of what Autistic Pride Day is all about!
Autism Kids Video: Learn the Emotion "Proud" from Miss Veronica

Here is a video made by an Autistic self-advocate - Some Random Autistic - in honor of Autistic Pride Day.
Autistic Pride Day

Published June 18, 2013 on Google+

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