(And We Want Acceptance, Anyway)
Apparently this “game” is making the rounds again. I’ve seen it circulated as “awareness” for a handful of unrelated causes over the years, and this year it’s for “Autism Awareness” again, so I find myself explaining how this does absolutely zero to help Autistics and our families. Again.
Here’s a screenshot of what I’m talking about:
The full message reads as follows:
“😂You shouldn’t have liked or commented on my last status. Now you have to pick from one of the below and post it as your status. This is the 2020 Autism Awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport. Pick your poison from one of these and post it as your status.
- Just found a squirrel in my car!
- Just used my kids to get out of a speeding ticket.
- How do you get rid of foot fungus?
- All of my bras are missing!
- I think I just accepted a marriage proposal online?!
- I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear.
- It’s confirmed I’m going to be a mommy/daddy.
- Just won a chance audition on America’s got talent!
- I’ve been accepted on master chef.
- I’m getting a pet monkey!
- I just peed myself!
- Really thinking about getting butt implants!
- Just won 700 on a scratcher!
- We’re moving to Vermont at the end of the year!
- Mayonnaise on Reese’s peanut butter cups is sooo good!
- I’ve just been accepted on come dine with me whoop whoop.
Post with no explanations. Sorry, I fell for it too. Looking forward to your post. Ahhh don’t ruin it. (Don’t let the secret out). And remember it’s all for the 2020 Autism Awareness. Have fun! :)”
FIRST OF ALL, before I proceed it needs to be said: it is inappropriate and insensitive to ever joke about a pregnancy. Don’t do it. It’s not funny. It’s not cute. What it is is hurtful. A stab in the chest for every person who has struggled with infertility or pregnancy loss, for every couple who longs for a child of their own. PLEASE STOP IT.
Ok, now that I’ve got that bit off my chest, let’s get to it.
These games don’t raise awareness. They don’t teach anyone anything about autism or Autistic people. There are no statistics, no diagnostic info, no terminology definitions, no links to Autistic organizations, nothing that helps a family who is discovering there’s an Autistic member, no information that folks can learn from. There’s not even anything autism related in the list of status updates to choose from. No awareness. None.
They’re just annoying.
Nevermind that activists and advocates within the Autistic Community have been begging for years now for people to accept us rather than just be “aware” of us. Especially when much of what gets called awareness should be renamed “bewareness” because it’s all about red flags and deficits and negative impacts on families rather than focused on recognizing and accommodating our individual needs.
“Awareness means nothing without Acceptance and Accommodations.”– V.R. Blevins
If you really want to help raise awareness and directly impact the lives of Autistic individuals, donate to organizations led by Autistics, follow our blogs and pages, share our work and credit us for it, buy things from our online shops. Fierce Autie has a fantastic list going!
Hey! Maybe even seek us out and hire us next time you’re looking to add someone to your team! There’s a novel concept.
Consult us when you’re writing about us, and when making shows and movies that are supposed to represent us. Better yet, hire us to do it ourselves. Invest in us.
Include us any time autism is being discussed. We’ve got first-hand perspective that should be valued rather than minimized and dismissed.
Sharing a fake status update and spamming your friends with a copypasta message asking them to do the same does absolutely nothing for the Autistic Community.
These games actually remind quite a few of us of every time a neurotypical person tricked us into believing something that wasn’t true just because they thought it was funny we were gullible.