It is Autism Awareness Month here in Canada, a celebratory time for us in the community I have turned my facebook profile picture into a cute little autism symbol, and everyday I post a relevant quotation. I want to grab this opportunity to inform people about autism, and perhaps help to create a compassionate world for my son to live in but it's not enough. And I think it is high time we switch gears.
It is not enough that people understand what autism is. It is not enough that people understand the increased rates, or even the heightened need for services and decreased wait times. These things are important, but nobody is going to care until they recognize the humanity of our children.
It is time that we begin to demand that people with autism be treated with dignity. Basic human dignity. Be treated as equally important in this world, and that we no longer accept alternate rules of conduct in how they are treated in the community, or in our schools.
What does it matter that I change my profile picture, if the lady at the store gives a wave of her hand and dismissively states," Autistic kids" after a little water gets spilled? As if to say, "what more do you expect?"
What does it matter that I change my profile picture, when it is so hard to find good community activities, where our kids are given equal instruction, not simply included?
What does it matter that I change my profile picture, when sensory rooms at schools are being misused as jail cells?
I just want to live in a world that doesn't accept less in terms of the humane treatment of children with disabilities. A world where others, not directly affected, will stand up and demand that our children be treated with dignity.
Being autism aware isn't enough anymore, sometimes people use their scraps of knowledge to do more harm than good.
I'd just like people to care.