(This was originally titled reflections on Autism Hysteria Month, but someone pointed out the origins of hysteria as a word and that's no good, so now we're on miseducation. -K)
Thank $DIETY it's over.
This month in the public sphere, we had atrocities like PBS's Autism Now (which ignored autistic adults entirely as not important; only parents matter). We had atrocities like the NHL's Face Off Against Autism. We had the ridiculous Light It Up Blue thing. Blue is totally going to make people more educated, right? Everything was against autism or for awareness.
Still people are settling for 'awareness'. But awareness is not an end unto itself, or shouldn't be. Big Autism is happy if people are 'aware' that their tragedified version autism exists-that brings donations for cure research. I hypothesize that Big Autism doesn't want people actually educated on autism, for then they may determine that supports, not cure, are what is needed and what is ethical to fund.
In my real life, awareness has done nothing but harm this year. STOP telling me I am broken. STOP telling me that I am an exception, I'm not. I am not special in the autistic world, not really. We are all unique and yet we all share so much.
In my real life, "awareness" is leading to a teacher trying to force me out of a class. I have a 4.0 GPA, am a former high level athlete, and he is afraid I cannot handle rock climbing, because of "awareness". The fight I am forced into because of "awareness" is not something I have the bandwidth for, yet here I am doing it. I will probably collapse from burnout before it is over, as I am running on fumes and stubbornness right now.
Awareness doesn't cut it in 2011. It won't cut it in 2012. Educate people or shut the hell up-awareness as your whole goal does not help us. It hurts us. And contrary to what you think, you are hurting really real people with the fallout from your scare tactics.