Dear Sorority Members,
Hi there. I’ve heard you’re promoting autism awareness this month.
So I wanted to tell you something: autistic people exist.
We are people. Real people. Who you have an obligation to learn how to accomodate and interact with respectfully. And you can do this. Everyone can learn how. There isn’t an insurmountable barrier between you and us - unless it’s one that you erect.
I don’t think you know that we exist. Not really. Because, if you did, you’d talk to us. You’d want to know what we think of your awareness campaigns. And, you’d ask us what kind of help we need.
But you’re not doing that. You’re not spreading awareness of the fact that autistic people are real. You’re not telling people about common autistic traits. You’re not working to learn how to communicate with, respect, and accommodate autistic people. And you’re sure as hell not trying to figure out how to bring autistic women into your sororities.
People are ignorant about autism in ways that hurt people badly. Even in ways that get autistic people killed. You could be doing something about that. You have the public eye, and you’re socially valued. If you said the right things about autism, people would listen.
So, it’s upon you to raise your own awareness, so that you will know what you are talking about, and so that you can tell the truth.
You might start with this post I wrote as an overview for aides: http://realsocialskills.tumblr.com/post/39482079759/autism-awareness-for-aides
And more generally, I’ve written a lot of posts tagged autism.
And also, learn why self-advocacy organizations are organizing Autism Acceptance Month
And everything on autisticadvocacy.org, starting with Position Statements, and Why ASAN Uses Identity-first Language
If you read and understand, and start spreading the right kind of awareness, you will be able to make the world better for a lot of autistic people and their families who are suffering needlessly.