So, another Autism Awareness Month has come and gone. Is everyone OK? I hope so. Although most of the autism Awareness emphasis was toward the beginning, people might want to reminisce toward the types of progress the autistic community has made. I’ve made lists of the Pros and Cons toward this progress. For the first time, there have been definite Pros.
1. There has been a definite shift toward what autistic people want and need.
2. Autistic voices are finally gaining some sort of traction toward being heard.
3. There has been a rise in finding and diagnosing autism, particularly in communities of color.
4. More female portrayals of autism are coming around in the media.
5. At least in my local grocery store, there has been a shift toward acceptance and social inclusion.
1. Autism Speaks still wants to “DESTROY AUTISM!!!” as if autism is some sort of social cancer. (It’s not; prejudice is, though.)
2. The portrayals of autism in the media are still generally white and male. This stereotype still rules and harms autistic people everywhere, even denying them diagnosis in females. I have yet to see an autistic woman who is like me on TV.
3. Sheldon Cooper, who does not have an official diagnosis, is the gatekeeper of autism in many neurotypical minds.
4. There has been only one major portrayal of autistic persons of color: Billy the Blue Power Ranger in the Power Rangers Movie of 2017.
5. Most people still think autistic adults are not autistic enough to speak for autistic children.
6. The Autism Community is still fragmented, with parents of the autistic on one side and autistic people on the other.
7. ANDREW WAKEFIELD, JENNY MCCARTHY AND THE VACCINE BLAMERS!
8. The Most Important: People still think autism is a tragedy. Some people even have to wait until adulthood to get diagnosed because their parents do not want their children to be autistic. (Nobody gets a choice in the matter!)
While the Cons List is almost twice as long, the fact that there are actually Pros is a plus. I previously referenced April as The Trauma Month, if you remember reading that back in March. If we get over our differences, band together and fight the prejudice against us, someday the Pros list will be longer. That, my friends, I am looking forward to.