April 2 marks Autism Speaks’ annual “Light it Up Blue” day. The awareness campaign is scheduled to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day. I didn’t participate last year, but I followed their posts about the event and liked pictures on Facebook. I thought it was an amazing activity that had real potential to help raise awareness.
Over the course of the last year, my feelings about this event and its sponsoring organization have changed. As I mentioned yesterday, my perspective has been influenced by the writings of adult autistics.
I resisted their complaints at first. The evolution of my attitude went something like this:
But the autism clinic referred me to Autism Speaks. How would I have found out more about autism after my son was diagnosed without their website?
Okay, maybe Autism Speaks does cater to parents, but who else is going to raise autistic children into autistic adults?
Sure, that makes sense that I shouldn’t be getting my information from a group that does not have autistic people serving in major roles. I’ll make sure that I don’t donate to them, but I’m still going to listen to their message.
I finally get it: the message is part of the problem.
This post by The Caffeinated Autistic is a great reference that collects all of the complaints about Autism Speaks in one place. These are the facts that have influenced my decision not to participate in this event.
In all fairness, I will also be boycotting the “Tone it Down Taupe” campaign, too. Honestly, I am neither crafty enough nor motivated enough to make my own taupe ribbon-even if it could have googly eyes. Radical Neurodivergence Speaking writes here about the tongue-in-cheek response created by autistics that actually has a serious message mixed into the silliness.
For those people that choose to “light it up blue,” I hope they find it to be a positive experience. I hope their blue light bulbs prompts meaningful conversations with people that don’t know much about autism. For my part, I choose not to support the campaign.
B is for blue.
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.