Thursday, April 05, 2007

Acceptance vs. Awareness, Can These Autism Goals Co-Exist?

I think they can. Factions within the Autism Community hurt each other by bashing each other and discriminating against each other. I've been thinking a lot about the criticism Oprah and her Autism Speaks guests have ALREADY recieved, and I am thinking about the big wave of bashing they'll get later tonight in the blogging world. It's so distressing! Here are some thoughts to ponder:

1) Awareness is good no matter what angle. No matter what isn't covered. No matter what insulting symantics are used. Remember, the American public doesn't live in the world of Autism like we do. The American public must learn their ABCs before we can expect them to accept Autism for ALL that it is. How can one appreciate Shakespeare if they cannot even read?

Awareness gets children diagnosed.
Awareness gets children services.
Awareness gets parents talking about this once taboo subject. I now hear it and it's so exciting!

The controversial topic of Autism how now
into the mainstream. Once taboo, the media will now cover it. Oprah can now safely cover it. This is a good thing. Symantics will only improve over time, not get worse. I'm thrilled that Aspergers made it big on ABC too.

2) Autism must be marketed. Marketing 101 dictates that your message must be clear and concise. The message must be ONE big thing, something for the listener to remember and walk away with. People always complain about what the media DIDN'T cover. How can one hour represent everything people would want, let alone the major topics of autism such as genes, biomedical, therapeutic, and adult life challenges? Presenting something else along with the disabiling aspects of this disorder would confuse the layman, the message would get watered down. Niche segments are the way to go too, such as ABC's Aspergers coverage: Kids With Asperger's Syn.: 'Bullied on a Daily Basis', Asperger's Syndrome: Separating Myth From Reality, Asperger's Syndrome Resources

3)Those that know next to nothing about Autism far outnumber the adults and parents that have been living in the world of Autism for years. Most of us enlightened ones didn't automatically accept Autism. How can we accept something COMPLETELY that takes months to understand? It's hard to remember what it was like going through those early stages of the learning curve.

These newbies, the parents of young children by far are the biggest audience out there. They need our support. They need their families and communities to understand. They need funding, and often focusing on the disabling aspects of this disorder makes these things happen. The thing that drives me most crazy is our children NOT getting the support they need. The goal for most of us parents I'd think, to be able to support their children.

4) This is
the beginning. The media, global understanding, and tolerance for our differences will evolve. It must start somewhere, and it's with the ABCs.

5) Here's a link to the M.D. that will be on Oprah today: Bryan Jepson, father and M.D.

6) Parents and grandparents of Autism are all the same in that we share this disorder. We all deserve support and should honor each other. The path is different for everyone, what works is different for everyone, the focus is different for everyone.

And that's okay.


mcewen said...

Thanks for the link to the doctor, I'll check that out later. I am also very mindful of the 'learning curve' so I think I'll be hiding in my soap box rather than standing on it ranting!

As for 'marketing' being number '2' now there's cultural diversity for you - I wouldn't have even thought of that!

Laura said...

Oprah comes on here in another hour. Already read some vaccine controversy on her message board.

You're right about awareness being the first step, and the newbie parents needing support! That was the toughest time for me - no information from "reliable" sources -- the pediatrician and other doctors I knew -- everything I read was online, and there's so much to process.

Oh, see my lastest post about "support". Not exactly what you had in mind...

A Bishops wife said...

Well, I missed the show. I never watch OPRAH. I am usually stuck watching a bowling tournament recorded on the DVR.

These are wonderful thoughts.
"Marketing" --absolutly!!!!

I consider myself a "newbie" at all of this. I need all the info I can get. I do not know the jargon or the right questions to ask at IEPs or the doctor.

Someone mentioned a book "Autism For Dummies". I should start there. I have gotten books from the library and just end up feeling overwhelmed.

Ashley loves Leo said...

I think we're all newbies in some ways. I only wish one book like Autism For Dummies would cover everything for every person affected by ASD. I totally empathize with your current situation. It'll get better as time goes by. Know that you are doing what's best already!

What type of info in particular are you looking for? I admit I'm a bit of an info freak, so I may be able to give you some book ideas that may hone in on your needs.

Ashley loves Leo said...

Oh, and if you go to, I'm sure they have a synopsis of the show. It was basically an awareness piece - what is Autism and what it looks like. They didn't get into anything else, other than that the genes and environmental triggers are still be worked out. They had just parents on, all but one affiliated with Autism Speaks.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I agree with your post. Awareness is the first step. Nothing will turn off the public to this cause more than nasty in-fighting among autism groups.

I think the Oprah show will above all raise the level of compassion people have for families. The sibs featured on the show were VERY powerful.

Love the name of your blog. It says it all, doesn't it?