Readers of my blogs will know how passionate I am to tell the world how grateful I am to Life, Death, Nature, Fate, Fortune, God, the Universe and all that, and every other entity that pulls my strings, for giving me the autism spectrum disorder, Asperger's Syndrome. Many regard the condition as a curse but it has given me the most awesome white-knuckle ride I have ever experienced, and I would like to return to do it all over again, if Heaven will let me.
Well, the countdown to World Autism Awareness Day 2nd April 2015 has been going on for the past ten months, and things are starting to hot up as the preparations for this event approach their conclusion. So, I thought I would tell you about one such preparatory project I have stumbled across in my activism work via the most common social networking sites on the internet. It is called Autism Unveiled; and is a six-week advocacy project culminating in World Autism Awareness Day this year.
It is being organized by The Art of Autism, which curates words, photographs, pictures, self-portraits, videos, etc., from people around the world who are on the autism spectrum. Each week from February 18 - April 2 it will feature Autistic persons and words, pictures, art or videos that describe that person, as simple as a few words with a drawing or an essay or more. The title of each day's blog will of course vary depending on the person who is writing the blog. I am sure this is going to be a fascinating documentary for the world to see, as I see creative works such as these every day in the course of my monitoring what goes on around the world in the lives of people who have autism and their relatives and friends.
Autism is a current cultural phenomenon with 1 in 68 children in the United States diagnosed on the autism spectrum (Center for Disease Control, 2014). Autism is prevalent world-wide. The diagnosis is made by observation of behaviors. Autistic people are wired differently to non-autistic people. Many are highly sensitive to sensory input, such as sound, sight, taste, and touch. Many are gifted in the arts and sciences. The condition has no country, religion, ethnicity, education-level, gender, sexual preference, career, or personality.
The 20th century trend to criminalize and demonize autism is disturbing and has affected my own life and those of many others like me in adverse ways. The persistent negative media profiles autistic people as suffering, sick, broken or worse: genetic mistakes. My hope and that of others like me is that the project will highlight the human aspects of autism and the autistic experience, and feature inspiring websites that give diverse representations of autistic people. We hope this project will go beyond autism awareness to autism acceptance.