Are we promoting World Autism Awareness Day at the expense of autistic individuals?

Sub-title: An alternative perspective of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) from an introverted autistic individual. 

Disclaimer: Views are my own and don’t represent the autism spectrum.


It’s April. ‘Which COLOUR am I going to wear?’ Do you seriously think I care? I tend to wear shirts with cats on them, therefore the question I’d be asking myself is which cat am I going to wear? I’m the crazy cat lady on the streets with a cat shirt, wearing cat accessories and my cat tattoo and perhaps smelling of cat litter. It’s April and I’ll stay true to my feline-self. There are 3 reasons I don’t participate in WAAD but I could sum them up in one sentence: I don’t participate in WAAD because I’m autistic. In the immediate paragraphs below, I will state my 3 autistically valid reasons.

First, autistics value knowledge and live by logic. The idea that wearing a particular colour is going to help raise awareness about autism is a joke to me. Where’s the logic? Besides, have you ever considered the sheer number of awareness day/month and what it’d take if I were to participate in each? April is also the month of Earth Day, National Walk Day, Alcohol Awareness Month and who knows what else. It’s like standing in front of the milk shelves or the cereals aisle at the food store. Who am I to say one cause is less or more important than the other? It’s a mere facade, superficial and symbolic. It is what it appears: awearness, not awareness. Why are people doing it then? To be fair, people (referring here to the general population) do it all the time. They change their appearance (wear a certain colour, put on a badge, change their profile picture etc.) to show their support for a cause. Other people see it and might go with the flow. Soon everyone is doing it because it becomes a trend. It gives them something to talk about in their small talk, it gives them a reason to social and celebrate, it enhances their self-image to think that they are doing it for a good cause. It’s an illusion, it’s herd mentality. As the song goes, “Talking is cheap, people follow like sheep”. It becomes a formality. And if you work for an organization or charity group etc (regardless of its respectability or reputation), it’ll be your company’s interests to actively encourage it to raise profile and publicity. I hate formality and doing something just for the sake of doing it and I’ve never been one to follow the trend. If I have to do something simply because everyone is doing it, it is somewhat against my autistic self. Even if I do, I’ll do it on my own terms, in my way. Telling me to turn up for an event or gathering as the only way to show support or respect is not only shallow, it is against my introverted self. I’m not against awareness campaigns but don’t judge me if I choose not to participate.  

 

Which cat should I wear?  www.themountain.com

Second, autistic individuals have a preference for routine. To autistic individuals and their families, autism awareness is all year round. To be bombarded with an array of information and events about autism in a particular month, or even if it’s just a day, disrupts the routine. Neurotypicals (NT) would have no problem and ideally, autism awareness are targeted at the general population which means that NT should make up the majority population but what I’d like to know is how much of that awareness actually gets to the general population? And at the expense of who?

Third, TMI resulting in sensory overload from the overwhelming flow of information circulating around. I’d like to show my support but there is just too much going on at the same time. As another song goes, I fear most of it is “People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening.” Again, I’d like to ask how much of that awareness actually gets to the general population? And at the expense of who?

WAAD may have been well intentioned but it failed to address the peculiar needs of individuals on the spectrum. To participate is to give in to the demands of the general population at the expense of my autistic need for logic and routine as well as putting myself at risk of sensory overload. Being autistic, I wasn’t born to conform and I wish others would stop victimizing themselves.

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9 thoughts on “Are we promoting World Autism Awareness Day at the expense of autistic individuals?

  1. Hi DW, I’ve been willing for days to read this post properly, dyslexic-autistically, but I’m drowning in exams, work, broken car, eurgh…
    Agree with attitude, better suits me than any other. I’ll come back and read/watch/comment properly.
    BTW, that angry bottom left, right, sorry (dyspraxia kick) cat is creepy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU my friend for taking the time to read and share your thoughts!
      I can come across as defiant at times with my misanthropic tendencies.
      That is Dr. Evil’s cat, Mr. Bigglesworth! They come from a different planet like us 👽 but don’t be fooled by their looks, they are a friendly sweetheart! 😸 😄
      Best wishes, ❤️💪 💯⭐

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey DW, finally had the chance to read. Couldn’t agree more, especially the logic, knowledge and routine rationale, and our nonconforming nature. I wonder oftentimes when seeing the enthusiasm of many autistics about these questionable events, if it’s just me feeling like this, as an even more asocial aut (hmm I like it, “aut” 👾) or many auts (really like it…) are more social than they think, all over social media… For me, WP is about the top of what I can think of “socialising”. So, with you on this one… And Mr Evilsworth is creepy, worse than Dr Evil’s colagen pet 😹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get what you mean, I used to think that being autistic meant being asocial but I found out that autistics or auts 👾 can be sociable. Being a reclusive asocial, it makes me feel that I have more in common with introverts than autistics. I guess this make us a minority of the minority? 😂
      You are getting the evil creepy look for each time you log into WP instead of your books 😆 On this note, I will stop replying to your comments until the end of your exams and you shall refrain, nope I take that back. Given that your mind works in reverse, you shall come back more often in between your study, to share and enlighten us with your thoughts.
      Feel free to not conform and take whatever time and space you need, my posts and the evil creepy cat are not going anywhere.😈 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my life, what a nightmare… I just finished section 2 of my 4 section paper, a real nightmare, study of CBT efficiency on social anxiety, which in section 3 I’ll have to prove inferior to psychodynamic therapy, I hope 😵👽
    Weird enough, I had a neuroconnection glitch again, as my mind was racing warp speed, while I could literally sense my physical shell way behind, uselessly trying to catch up… I haven’t had this since childhood, when it was scarier though, as I nearly fainted every time.
    Right, I’m still having thoughts about socialising auts… I understand we’re on a spectrum, but an unusual orientation towards intro rather than extro, should be quite common…
    Take care, DW 🤓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you live in a place surrounded by extroverts and where your friends, even the ones who claim to be introverts are considerably more sociable and outgoing than you’re, you might start to understand why I feel I’m the minority of a minority, but I’m okay with that 😊
      Take care too and good luck on your remaining paper. Is it a take home paper?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s exactly how I feel. Minority of a minority sounds spot on. In Newspeak we would be the “double plus minority”… Yes, I’m working on it at home, to be submitted beginning of weak after next, half’s done, hope the best 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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