Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why I Won't be Walking.

So the Walk for Autism Research is coming up in my area soon. I'm not participating: here's why.

The walk is sponsored by Autism Speaks, an organization that is one of the main supporters of Autism reasearch. Here is a quote from their mission statement :

We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder.

Honestly, I'm glad a group like this exists. I am curious as to where Autism comes from; I'd like ANSWERS rather than mere speculations, though with time, I bet all we'll get is a strongly supported theory. That's all right. We already know there are truly no solid answers in science; we can live with this.

The part that really gets me is when they discuss wishing to "raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder."

Uh, WHAT? Public awareness is fine, just as long as it's in the right context and it displays the right information. What really bothers me is the portrayal of Autism as a disorder. I know you've heard this from me endlessly, but to be quite frank:

AUTISM IS NOT A DISORDER. Social conditioning and our society's take on what is "normal" blows our perceptions of Autism to extremes. Anyone who is slightly different, in the eyes of our society, has a disorder, or even worse, a disease.

I feel like the awareness of Autism is being blown to epidemic proportions. Here's a conversation I had at home the other day with my parents:

Dad: Apparently the number of kids diagnosed with Autism has gone up to 1 in every 98 kids.
Mom: That's awful!
Me: Well, at least they're getting better at diagnosing it...

I love my parents. They're wonderful people, and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. Their views are just something I don't support. Yes, they agree with the whole "Autism Speaks is a Godsend" deal. Despite having done a lot of work in support of Autism in our area (they completely re-vamped my area's education system and helped it grow when I came along), I just don't agree with a lot of things they say about "curing" Autism.

Just because Autism differs from what the standard for "normal" or "typical" is in our society, apparently makes it a disorder! Well, maybe some peoples' brains work differently, ever thought about that? Maybe the kid who is a scientific genuis today but has no friends due to being "lost in space" will one day cure cancer. I know individuals on the Autism spectrum who are some of the most brilliant people I've ever met. I know individuals who are brilliant who don't have anything close to Autism. It's all how you see it.

In conclusion, I do have a form of Autism, but I'm a functioning member of society. I am capable of survival. This is why I don't want to participate in any Autism Awareness events; I want to be seen for who I am, and not as a part of some growing "epidemic". So sorry, I won't be joining you on "Walk for Autism" day. Autism Speaks can suck my dick.

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