Different Is Beautiful: Why Autism Acceptance Should Be Our Goal by Mellica Telemacque
“Different … not less.” Those three words are emblazoned on a colorful cup with sparkles and a puzzle piece, designed by a friend in honor of autism acceptance. It’s April, and all around are messages and memes proclaiming it to be Autism Awareness Month. However, many of us who live our lives facing the challenges that autism brings would love if the world at large could move beyond simply being “aware.”
Don't get me wrong, awareness in itself is good – it denotes a newfound knowledge. But should it just end at awareness? What good is being aware if there is no move to use that knowledge for something greater?
It’s been said that awareness allows the uninformed to have a window into “our world.” While that may be true, what families living with autism want is for there to be no need for windows into “our world” because our world would be yours and vice versa. When the focus is no longer placed on what individuals with autism lack, but rather on what they add to our world, then we will begin to see evidence of awareness becoming acceptance.
Only then can we change the narrative, and items like my friend’s cup will read: “Different … Beautiful!”
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