I really enjoyed this post.
Which brings me to April. The whole focus on Autism ‘awareness’ troubles me. It seems to be a slightly more benign version of the sorts of comments listed above. What is awareness? I am aware of difference – there are many different groups and backgrounds people come from. It doesn’t mean I have any understanding of what people from the groups tend to experience or feel. For example I know there are people living in Mongolia. I am aware of Mongolians. But if my understanding stops at awareness, that is all I know. If I expand my awareness a little I might discover that in Mongolia, the horse is a very important part of daily life for many people. I might see a photo of a yurt and a photo of someone drinking a fermented mare’s milk drink. Does any of that awareness tell me about what it is like to live in Mongolia? Does it stop me from being prejudiced against Mongolians in the unlikely event that the whim to do so takes me? No, not really. Awareness is not anywhere near understanding.
In terms of Autism, awareness is hardly a useful thing at all by itself. When I was an Autistic child at school, a lot of the bullies were very aware I was different. They used this to torment me. If all I asked for in life was awareness then I’d probably get bullying and some more of those rude comments above rather than anything helpful or inclusive.