Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tone It Down Taupe this April!

As we all know, April is Autism Awareness Month, the month of Light It Up Blue! and alarmist rhetoric 'for autism'. In the spirit of this, Judy Endow posted this picture:
[image is a white box with an arrow pointing to the upper left hand corner. Text reads "I heart someone lacking autism"]

What followed was a discussion of how we need awareness of those who lack autism and how different their experiences are. A man who lacks autism thanked us for acknowledging his plight and requested more awareness. We need ribbons. We need a walk. Lia suggested we


for those lacking autism.

About the ribbon:

It is taupe (or tan. Or beige. A non offensive, non obtrusive color) to symbolize the toned-down sensory and emotional experiences of those lacking autism.

[img is a standard rectangular pin back attached to a beige ribbon]
The eyes represent the incessant demands for eye contact from people lacking autism.

The large size represents the size of the epidemic. 49 in 50 people lack autism! Help us find a cause! Help us develop more effective therapies! Help us integrate those lacking autism into a functional society with autistic people!

This campaign, while sounding a bit silly, is also a bit serious. Tone it down. Tone down the fear rhetoric. Tone down the alarmism. It is not necessary to light anything blue to show support and love for an autistic individual-that can be accomplished by, well, actually supporting autistic people. This is an opportunity to actually raise awareness and educate people: when they ask what that giant ribbon is for, we can explain why we are toning it down taupe, that fear rhetoric hurts real people, and that what autistic people want is not to be fixed, not to be prevented, but to be given the supports we need to be part of society. It's a way to make people think.

Would you like to Tone It Down Taupe with your very own ribbon? Lia has been making some and made a tutorial for those of us capable of making our own:

You will need:
-Taupe/beige/tan ribbon. Something neutral. The ribbon in the pictures is 1" wide.
-A ruler (if you want precise measurements)
-Googly eyes
-A pin back, or a button if a pin back isn't something you can make work
-A hot glue gun with glue

1. Cut a length of ribbon. For a large one like we are making here, cut 11". Cut the ends to points.

[img is an 11" length of beige ribbon stretched next to a ruler]

2. Fold the ribbon into a big "awareness" loop. Ours here is about 1.5" between the points. Play with the ribbon & make a shape that you find pleasing.

[img is the same beige ribbon crossed over itself into a large loop, awareness ribbon style, next to a ruler]

3. Then hot glue it into place where the ribbon crosses itself. Our ribbon crossed itself 3" from the end. Allow to cool & dry.

[img is a closeup of a beige ribbon next to a ruler. There is a dot of hot glue on the ribbon at the 3" mark]

4. Place 2 dots of hot glue where the ribbon crosses itself. These are for the googly eyes-have them ready!

[img is a closeup of a beige ribbon in an awareness loop. There are 2 dots of hot glue where it crosses itself]

5. Press googly eyes into the hot glue dots you just made. Again, allow to cool and dry.

[img is a closeup of a beige ribbon in an awareness loop. There are 2 googly eyes where it crosses itself]

6. Find the pinback or button you are going to use. Put hot glue on it.

[img is a standard rectangular pinback with hot glue on it]

7. Press the pinback or button or what have you onto the back of the ribbon in whatever direction is most useful for you.  Ours is horizontal, but the ribbon is large enough for the same pin back to be vertical as well. A small button will also fit. Allow to dry.

[img is a standard rectangular pin back attached to a beige ribbon]


[img is beige ribbon with googly eyes, attached to a rectangular pin back]

If you would like to Tone It Down Taupe, but do not have the spoons or other skills to make your own, Lia has graciously offered to make them & send them out. Email her at krystinesha (at) gmail (dot) com and she will set you right up.
with thanks to Lia  and Judy Endow for the brainstorming, and Lia for the craftery as well


Sharon daVanport said...

<3 Lia's Tone it Down Taupe, and Judy's graphic re: those lacking autism. The tutorial for how to make our own Taupe is awesome!

Brenda Rothman (Mama Be Good) said...

Yes! Don't let fund-raising organizations use us by inciting fear and pity. It hurts real people. <3

Chickenpig said...

I bought a 'light it up blue' lantern from Home Dep*t before I knew better. I don't mind, because it is a really useful lantern, but I won't be hanging it up anymore. My son doesn't need to be 'cured', if people really want to cure something, they can give money to St. Jude's to help kids with cancer.

I think I might tape tan construction paper to my lantern this year. I love your ribbon tutorial. I think I will make one for every one of my son's teachers.

Liz Ditz said...

I am particularly fond of the googly eyes. I plan to be taupe all month.

Josh Fuller said...

What a great choice of colour! I've been doing this for years now:

autisticbigbro said...

Hello! I so love the subtlety of your campaign! It really complements the campaign I am promoting:

Continue standing up to those who belittle us! Kudos! :D