Happy World Autism Month 2024

This World Autism Month, brace yourself for a deluge of people flooding your social media feeds, telling you what to do and what not to do.

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I’ve grown tired of the misinformation and disinformation that has taken over social media, with people asserting their personal opinions as irrefutable facts.

Before you read any information about autism on social media, bear in mind that NO ONE has the authority to speak on behalf of the entire autistic community. Yes, that includes even myself. The spectrum of opinions within the autistic community is broad, making any post beginning with “the autistic community…” a glaring red flag.

The Puzzle Piece symbol for autism

You will stumble upon posts that claim that the puzzle piece symbol is hated by autistic individuals because it implies they’re “missing a piece”. However, that’s not a factual statement; it’s an opinion. While some people with autism may interpret the puzzle piece as meaning that something is missing, many others, myself included, perceive it as a representation that autism is an integral part of who we are. But if you prefer the infinity loop symbol, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t impose your opinion as the voice of the entire autistic community. 

Autism Speaks

Similarly, you’ll hear assertions that autistic individuals universally hate Autism Speaks. Once more, this is merely an opinion, not a truth. As an autistic woman employed at Autism Speaks, I’m living proof of this. However, if you choose to support a different organization, that’s fine. Just resist the urge to spread misinformation and disinformation on social media to advance your agenda. Doing so is not only disingenuous but also harmful to the countless autistic people who benefit from the services provided by Autism Speaks.

Light it Up Blue vs Red

You may also see many posts claiming that “lighting it blue” is ableist because it symbolizes Autism Speaks. While you’re welcome to light it up red, yellow, purple, gold, or the colors of the rainbow, again, don’t propagate the idea that all autistic individuals prefer red over blue, insinuating that failure to comply constitutes ableism. Such tactics are manipulative, misguided, and fundamentally dishonest.

My hope this World Autism Month is that you have the strength to resist being swayed by the vocal minority whose social media posts attempt to coerce you into adopting their viewpoint.

There is no singular experience of autism, no universally accepted symbol or color.

The one thing we can all agree on is the pressing need for services and support for autistic people. Engaging in petty debates over terminology and symbols on social media will not further this cause.

So this April, please remember that autistic individuals are not a monolith.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    2024-04-05 at 7:54 PM

    I’ve been thinking this to myself, what if we were to get a documentary that touches on the dark side of the autism community?

    Imagine if the misinformation being spread about ABA therapy, the puzzle piece symbol, and Autism Speaks were to finally be exposed on live television, how would social media react to this?

    I bet they would start to finally see the error of their ways for once.

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