Second Annual Autism Acceptance Event Making a Difference!
Paula C. Durbin Westby is leading the way into a month which many autistic advocates dread. Why?
Written by Sharon daVanport
Most awareness campaigns have little to do with supports to benefit autistic adults, and it's become increasingly difficult for many self advocates to breathe through April's superficial autism frills. Is there anything to look forward to in the month of April?
Within the autism community, April has always been known for it's one buzz word, "awareness." Not anymore. Now you will see a new kind of confirmation which helps many in our community not feel the dread of the empty campaigns that hold little value toward helping autistics and their families. What is it? One word. ACCEPTANCE. On April 2nd, and continuing throughout the month of April, autistic advocates and their allies will be spending their time making a new kind of difference by communicating about acceptance, not tolerance and pro-neurodiversity.
I joined Georgetown University's disability awareness club, DiversAbility, now in its second year, upon arriving at campus. During one of our previous meetings, one of the club's officers mentioned that we will be hosting an "Ability Lunch," which had been done last year, in which people sit at different tables and simulate different disabilities -- for example, wearing a blindfold to simulate blindness or having one’s arm tied behind one’s back to simulate inability to use a limb or lack of a limb -- while eating lunch. I immediately raised objection to the idea, and was told that the discussion following the lunch included criticism of the event.
If that is so, if the flaws in holding such an event are recognized, then why is this event held?