And Stimming With Rainbows of Every Design

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I had to climb out from under the virtual rock I've been hiding under for this!

Most of the World Autism Awareness Day articles I've read have felt like a slap in the face. I thought that I would take a break this morning by reading skeptic blogs instead of media hype, but I ended up reading about the details of Jenny McCarthy's latest nonsense and where infectious disease outbreaks would be most likely to occur in California. It wasn't exactly the most uplifting experience!

I burrowed under term paper duties for most of the rest of the day (after affixing an "I am not a puzzle" button to my backpack, which will remain there for the rest of the month). Then I searched out the official site. From there I found a link to Obama's statement on World Autism Awareness Day.

I'm stunned, and, for once, it's in a good way.

"We celebrate the contributions of individuals with autism, their families..." We're mentioned first. Not as an afterthought, not forgotten entirely. First, and not as burdens.

There's emphasis on barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination before treatment. That's as it should be. The first three are what hurts, rather than the mere fact of being.

"Self-advocates" in the first paragraph. Not just helpless children. Self-advocates. We have agency. I knew that, but it's been acknowledged publicly as part of an awareness event, by a major public figure (understating here, I know!).

There's mention of treatment and more person-first language than I'd like, but it's still something I never expected that I'd see. And the fact that I am seeing it has me far happier than it should.


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