April is widely known as Autism Awareness Month. All over social media we see well meaning people adding blue frames to their pictures with the words “light it up blue for autism”. Smiling and not smiling faces of autistic children are plastered all over my facebook newsfeed with well meaning parents showing the world their autistic children for “awareness”.
I am going to sound a little controversial here but I won’t be lighting it up blue for autism this April. I also won’t be doing anything different to normal with my blog and I shall explain why.
You see, I have looked into the background of “light it up blue” and it originates from a charity called Autism Speaks. This particular charity is making a lot of money from the “light it up blue” campaign every year as well meaning individuals donate to them. Autism Speaks put a mere 4 percent of their budget into helping autistic people and their families. The charity fundraises with negativity and does not celebrate autistic individuals for who they are.
Autism Speaks, instead, spends 32 percent of its budget on “research”. Research into the cause and prevention of autism. Prevention including prenatal testing! I for one could not imagine a world without someone as lovely as my son and could never advocate for “prevention” of that nature.
I would prefer autistic children and adults were accepted than prevented and for that reason you won’t see my blog or social media pages go blue this April.
I choose instead to raise awareness continually, every month, of the issues autistic children (and adults) have to deal with. I choose to give more people understanding of autism in order to try, in my small way, to raise acceptance and improve the world for autistic people.
If I can, by talking about my sons experiences, change the way one school works with autistic children or help one teacher to see their classroom through the eyes of an autistic child. If I can inspire one parent to help their autistic child live without limits or encourage them to keep on fighting for the their rights and education. If I can increase understanding of autism. If I can stop one child having to go through what my son went through. Then I have achieved what I set out to do.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Please feel free to follow my blog or like my Facebook page which I keep up to date with new posts as they are written. I also have a closed Facebook group for anything autism related and sharing days out and holiday ideas and tips. You can find me on Twitter @KidsOnTour.