Today is Autism Awareness Day! Most people know at least a little bit about autism, but there is a lot of misinformation out there based on stereotypes.
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior.
Many autistic people do something call self-stimulation, or stimming for short. Stimming is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or movement of objects. Why do we stim? There are many reasons, the main one being regulation of sensory input or emotions. This means that we are often over stimulated, under stimulated, or dealing with so much emotion that we didn’t know how to handle. When we are over stimulated, stimming not only helps our body and mind process the sensory input, but also helps block out more sensory inputs. When we are under stimulated, stimming helps produce that extra sensory input that is needed to focus or reconnect with oneself. We stim when we are experiencing an over abundance of emotions (also called every time I actually have emotions) because it’s so much, often too much for our already overly sensitive body to handle. Many people cry when they get overwhelmed with sadness, I jump around flapping my hands and screaming when I’m overwhelmed with happiness. My body doesn’t let me feel a normal amount of emotions, because I don’t feel them on a regular basis, which is why, when I do feel I get so overwhelmed that my body physically can’t sit still anymore.
Many autistic people have something called a special interest, or SpIn for short. A spin is an overly intense focus or passion on a specific interest. This can be anything from reading to trains to the female snow leopard to Reese Witherspoon’s first-born son (does she even have a son? Idk, that isn’t one of my spins). One of my spins is learning about autism and providing information to those who would like to learn more!
What do you think of when you see a puzzle piece logo? Most people think of autism awareness, but did you know that most autistic adults don’t support the use of the puzzle piece as being the symbol for autism? The original autism related puzzle piece (pictured above) featured a disembodied weeping head of a child on a dark green and black puzzle piece. This was effective in doing one thing, telling autistic children that their disorder was puzzling, that they should be sad about being autistic, and that they are broken, that they need to be fixed, that they don’t fit in, that they aren’t normal. It was popularized also by Autism Speaks (which I will get into later this week). Many people now use the neurodiversity symbol (pictured below) , a rainbow infinity sign, to represent autism, or and autisticat (pictured below).
Why do we have autism awareness day? Is it because people don’t know about autism? No, most people know a little bit about autism. Is it because we want a cure? No, most autistic people don’t want a cure and feel that if we had a cure, we wouldn’t be us. Is it because of acceptance? Yes!!!! Yes! 1000x yes. If people would just accept us for all our quirks. Accept us for who we are. Accept that we aren’t suffering. Accept that we don’t want a cure. Accept that if we didn’t have autistic people in this world, your world would be so fucking boring I don’t know how you’d stand it.
And there’s so much more I want to say and this is probably all over the place, but I’m done now. I am autistic, but it doesn’t define me.
(Pictures are from Google)
Want to know more!