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Autism Awareness month is not enough

Nick Hughes

Opinion Editor

April is autism awareness month. That is great, but let’s up our game a little. Autism acceptance month has a better ring to it. I am tired of people being aware of me for just one month of the year and then they forget come May. We got to a point where a good amount of people know what autism is. Now we must take it to the next step.

    At the time of this writing, it is April second. That is Autism Awareness day. I am going through my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds and I see all kinds of autism awareness posts. I appreciate this greatly. I want to make that clear to those who think that I am not grateful, but Autism awareness month has now become a month where parents of people with autism pat themselves on the back for being parents. I know this is not the case for all the parents of those with kids that have autism but being autistic is becoming commercialized.

International Education Week

    Groups like Autism Speaks, who I am not a huge fan of, promote only awareness. They are also researching a cure for autism and while that may sound great to some, it sounds insulting to me. I am a person first and autistic second and I do not think autism is something that can or should be cured. I am all for research to figure out why people with autism get autism, but I do not want a cure. Curing something means that there is a horrible thing wrong with a person. Unlike those types of diseases and sicknesses, autism is a disorder that should be accepted and learned about more. This is far more important than finding a cure for autism.

    April may be autism awareness month, but I feel like that is all that is happening. Raising awareness and nothing more being done after that. Posturing to look good and make themselves look good. That is essentially what groups what Autism speaks does. I want acceptance across the board, not just someone looking for a cure to autism. We do not need a cure, we need coaching on how to approach life. A lot of people with autism have daily struggles that make life hard for them. I am lucky enough that I have a great support system and friends and family willing to help me.