April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2nd is World Autism Day, established by the United Nations. This year, Autism Citizen is part of the effort to create acceptance. That’s our key mission: to Advocate for Acceptance.
Our new campaign, #DareToAdvocate is a call to arms to everyone, challenging each person to advocate for autism with courage and strength. We call upon people around the globe to advocate for those among us who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
At Autism Citizen, we hold that each person with autism is a citizen, and deserves the same rights, and equality as persons who are off the spectrum. We’re shouting from every hilltop, mountain, valley and coast to all who listen that autism is a human condition that must be accepted by one and all.
Autism is so different in each person affected that no two autistic persons will ever have the exact same condition. Like snowflakes, each is unique, and individual. Some on the spectrum suffer severe autism, in which additional conditions add to the difficulties created by autism. Many cannot communicate verbally or hear, even though there’s nothing medically wrong with their vocal cords or auditory systems.
Others are high functioning, with the ability to hold jobs, live independently, and enjoy full, satisfying lives. Every person with autism is misunderstood and more than 80% report mistreatment. Unemployment in the autistic community is over 73%. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is 78.5%.
Some autism ‘charities’ spend the majority of their funds on research for a cure. Clearly, autism research is critical, and we support that fully, but research must also be balanced with a view to those who live with the condition, and their participation in society.
Again, this is where Autism Citizen dares to advocate. Because it is a genetic condition, curing those already affected may not be possible, but we devote ourselves to improving their lives and their ability to live in the community as equals. We believe they have an equal right to have their needs respected, as much as anyone else with physical disabilities.
For example, almost every courthouse in the United States has taken steps to accommodate deafness, blindness and physical situations. If you have a wheelchair, you will likely find ramps, wide doors, and the removal of door saddles. For the blind, Braille is available for signs and elevator buttons. There’s usually someone qualified to do sign language for the deaf available on staff.
If you’re autistic, the view has been ‘good luck’. No provision is made to prevent meltdowns or to help those who may have one in our courts. Instead, we expect those with autism or mental disabilities to make their own accommodation. That’s inequality and shouldn’t be tolerated, so we advocate for such accommodation.
Join us on Twitter and #DareToAdvocate today. Make it part of your life!