Ever have to start an essay with “What I did last summer was…..”? Goodness, I hope so, otherwise I may have to change my title!
When I approached people at work this year about changing a decidedly abbreviated Autism Awareness Month movement to a very robust and enthusiastic Autism Acceptance Month movement, I wasn’t really certain anyone would want to listen. I mean, plenty of people have loads of ideas, don’t they? I needed to be sure I was well armed with better groups to align with, more current information.
And when I walked in with a month worth of social media ideas and community outreach opportunities, I was heard.
And for the first time in a very very long time, I feel as though what I say- what WE say- actually means something. I feel as though we could in fact help our community as a whole begin to change the narrative from one of fear-mongering to one of strength, inclusion, unity.
So… it’s nearly the end of the month. I’ve photographed perhaps a hundred or so people (I truly haven’t counted) who have heard what I’m saying about understanding and accepting the autistic community. I’ve heard their stories and shared mine, including my own personal move into self-identification. This movement has, to my mind, done precisely what it set out to do: change the perceptions held by the non-autistic community about autism, and provide them new information which may help them be more open to inclusion.
And just because April is nearly done does not mean that
my our work is over. No way. Inclusion, acceptance, understanding, support, love, they are needed twelve months of the year. Our work has only just begun, lovies. Are you ready?