Celebrate Autism Pride Day

OK How will you be celebrating Autistic Pride Day? It takes place on June 18th every year. The purpose is to shift people’s views from thinking about autism as a “disease” to understanding it as a “difference”. It celebrates neurological diversity, and recognizes the value of those whose brains are not “neuro-typical”.

There are many parents who truly feel devastated when they learn that their child has autism. I find that to be incredibly sad. I realize that there are a lot of people who simply do not have a good understanding about what autism is and that it comes in a wide spectrum of what has been described as “functionality”.

I understand that parenting a child who has autism can be vastly different from parenting a child who is “neuro-typical”. I realize that parents envision how they want their child’s life to be, and that autism could change that picture quite a bit. Even so, I think it is sad when parents feel disappointed that their child has autism. To me, it feels like they are seeing the child’s special need first, and the child himself second.

Perhaps this is why the world needs an Autistic Pride Day. It is time to celebrate the diversity in neurological types, and the abilities that all of them posses. One of my brothers has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is amazingly good at sorting numbers and figuring out patterns. Animals absolutely love him, and stray dogs will run to him with their tails wagging. He has a job, drives his own car, and is doing quite well.

I’ve never once thought of him as “my brother with autism”. He’s my brother. I wish other people could see him for who he is, and not for the differences between his brain and theirs.

There is a group called Aspies for Freedom This group was founded in 2004 by people who have Asperger’s Syndrome. They do not recognize autism as a “disease” and are opposed to any and all attempts to “cure” someone who is on the autism spectrum against his or her will. The group is focused on furthering the rights of people who have autism. One way to make people more aware that autism is not something that must be treated until it goes away is to have a day that celebrates Autism.

You might be able to locate an Autistic Pride day event near you by looking in your local newspaper. There will very likely be advertisements for it or news articles about it if events have been planned. If not, then take some time today to do a little bit of research about what autism is, and what it isn’t.

Check out a blog that is written by an adult who has autism. A blog called “Reports From a Resident Alien” is a great place to start. This can give you some perspective about what it can be like to try to fit into a world filled with people whose brains are “neuro-typical” when yours is not.

Image by Horia Varlan on Flickr