Both Au-some and Au-ful

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For many autistics, April is both the beginning of a month of overwhelming support and overwhelming fear. For while people start off the month as a joke in April Fools Day, it is also known as Autism Awareness Month. Take on April 2nd is typically held as the start date (to not confuse the joke holiday and according to the UN) and is currently known as “World Autism Day” (see wiki here )

April brings a lot of mixed emotions for autistics. First there are support networks coming from multiple angles trying to sponsor events, have dinners, and even encourage the wearing of Blue or the colored puzzle pieces above. (Well—until a world wide pandemic started sweeping the globe, but more on that one later.) Society as a whole is trying to show love and support for a community of people that specifically struggle with communication. These things can induce meltdowns or even be major triggers for autistics, even if intent is in the right place.

Second- April gives the wrong impression. It is not one month of support that many autistics need. They need full acceptance. They need full support networks for their struggling skills and encouragement all the time in their areas to shine for their super skills. In fact- autism $peaks collects thousands of dollars for research that neither supports the families and has a history of being derogatory or even offensive. (Even a few commercials I will not link.) It was not until this year they changed their blue logo (a color used because autism was originally thought of as a boy-only disorder) and many adult autistics do not like the puzzle pieces because it represents negativity, exclusion and even abuse.

I will say, what you should do this April, if you really want to help, is to find out the autistic adults and families and find out what they really need. (Well waiting until May is also a good idea.). And look carefully into “trend charity.”

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