October is Autism Awareness Month in Canada. So… people put a ribbon in their profile pictures and donate to organizations they think will help autistics. The problem is, most of these organizations only marginalize us, even as they claim to speak for us.
This October, we’d like to change the tone of the conversation and promote awareness that isn’t from a non-autistic parent, nor a service provider or researcher, but rather from our own lived experiences and our goal of greater freedom for autistics everywhere.
As autistic self-advocates, we are AWARE:
- that we have the right to fair education
- that we deserve a voice in our treatment decisions (at every age)
- that in our deepest moments of crisis, we need emergency responses workers who are educated about autism
- that housing is a right for autistics —and for all people
- that more employment opportunities could be available to autistics if the Province invests wisely in employer education and recruitment programs
- that policymakers should consult autistics when developing programs, yet seldom do
- that parent-led advocacy groups need to change: to welcome autistic leadership, rather than diminishing or tokenizing our roles
- that #actuallyautistic researchers bring unique value to the field of autism research and the field needs to encourage more autistic researchers
- that autism intersects with other identities such as queerness, transness, race, poverty, and other disabilities
- that we have the right to freedom from violence and discrimination, both individual and institutional
- that disability rights are human rights, and our rights are enshrined in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Autistic. Aware. Proud. Join us.