[Image description: A parrot named Squawkers holds a sign saying, “Autism Acceptance Is: saying “no” to “awareness” scare tactics. Scary October = Good. Scary April = Bad” with a picture of Squawkers in a “Scream” mask.] [Image description: A person named Kira Sherman holding a sign that reads “autism acceptance is believing in equality”] [Image description: A person named Kieran holds a sign in front of his face that reads “autism acceptance is treating people like people!!!”]
What autism acceptance means to me
Submitted by Cari C. via email
I am a 25 year old girl with Aspergers. I was diagnosed at about age 5. Growing up, very few of my classmates ever knew specifically that I had Autism, but they could still tell something about me was different, so of course they singled me out, teased me and bullied me. I tried so hard to be “normal”, to be what I thought they wanted me to be so they would finally accept me. Then when I was in 8th grade, one day it hit me: “I will never be normal, I will never be what they want me to be, and they will never accept me. And you know what? I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!!” I decided to be who I want me to be and not care what anyone else thinks. For me personally, it was rebelling by dressing in the “Goth” style. Not only did I accept that I was different, I thrived on it. I LOVE being called “weird” and “freak”, the only word that offends me is “normal.” I NEVER want to be normal! EVER! To all my fellow Autistics – it does not matter what other people think of you, all that matters is that you love being YOU! NEVER try to be what you’re not to please someone else. ALWAYS be yourself no matter what!! People may frown on my tattoos, piercings and wild outfits, but this is what Autism acceptance looks like to me. This is who I am and I love it!
[Image description: A person named Henry smiles at the camera, holding a sign that reads “autism acceptance is treating those with respect”]
[Image description: A person named Sarah holds a sign that reads “autism acceptance is embracing differences without bias.”]
[Image description: A person named Bev and Squawkers the parrot holding a sign that reads “Autism Acceptance is: Freedom to be who we are” with a picture of Squawkers sitting on the front of a scooter]
[Image description: A person named Thomas holding a sign that reads, “Autism Acceptance Is: “I know you are uncomfortable with making eye contact. I understand that you are still listening.”]
[Image description: A person named Jeeha smiles at the camera, holding a sign that reads “autism acceptance is love & affection”]
What is autism / Autism acceptance
Submitted by Hello IT via email
I know that I am different.
You’ll say everybody feels that way, but this isn’t a feeling I have; it’s central to who I am. If these differences were temporary or voluntary, self-preservation would have altered them long ago.
I know that everybody is different, but I differ in ways that comprise a greater difference, unexpected and unacceptable to you. I do my best to hide them and seem acceptable, but the more I focus on hiding my differences, the more afraid I become that one day I’ll simply be my differences and nothing more.
I am more than my differences.
My differences, you see, are mostly honesty about the rest of me. I feel and think things that are too big for my brain and I must enlist my body to assist. If you’ve learned my open secrets, you’ll know that as surely as if I spoke. You can say “You’re knotting your hair; why are you tense?” and I’ll know it’s not the kind of question I’m expected to answer with a lie.
I can lie. You’ve taught me how by punishing my honesty. When you ask how I am, but dislike me for telling you, you’ve expressed an interest you don’t feel. You’re lying to me, and I’m expected to lie in return, and this is considered mannerly. If I am not mannerly, you will dislike me, and I will learn to lie next time — maybe to you on the sidewalk, but maybe to my doctor when he uses the same words to ask how I am.
I know this isn’t considered a real lie, and calling it a lie is shockingly unmannerly. “It’s fine” sometimes means “That was not okay”. “I don’t care” sometimes means “I care very much indeed”. You won’t speak my language, so I study yours.
But we’re not so different: We both communicate because we want to reach out, affect, and be acknowledged. I just need truth to be exchanged, or I see no point in interacting except avoiding your punishments.
When you ask how I am, you want to say “I see you” and hear that you are seen in return; you aren’t trying to exchange anything more. I want to tell you what I see in you, and hear what you see in me, so that we can both be affected and acknowledge that we have the power to affect one another, that we are both secret sovereign universes hidden away from each other, but signalling, signalling, creating new galaxies of thought over the merest attenuated radio trickle. I can experience this miracle playing with a cat, yet so rarely manage to coax it from you.
I don’t need to hear that you see me. I already know whether you see me.
Mostly, you don’t. Mostly, you see my differences, or the nothing I hide them behind.
I already know that I am different. I want you to tell me things I don’t already know.
[Image description: Bev and Squawkers the parrot together, holding a sign that reads “Autism Acceptance is: Yes, the parrot works here too.” with an image of Squawkers in an office.]
[Image description: A sign that reads “Autism Acceptance is: Loving my Sissy.” 2-year-old Jeremiah has drawn a bunch of colors all over this sign.]
[Image description: A sign that reads “Autism Acceptance is: – Being in tune with the best case scenario. There is always a “Happy medium” between “typical social norms and what is needed by an autistic individual. Everyone needs to adjust and sometimes society needs to adjust more. – CGregoryRun”] [Image description: Bev and Squawkers the parrot holding a sign that reads, “Autism Acceptance is: Celebrating our differences.” with an image of Squawkers and a horse.]
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