Dates of note:
- World Autism Awareness Week 2018 is Monday, March 26th through Monday, April 2nd.
- World Autism Awareness Day 2018 is Monday, April 2nd.
- World Autism Awareness Month 2018 is April.
Light It Up Blue and Autism Speaks
For a few years now, we’ve seen the “Light It Up Blue” campaign for autism awareness. This has been the social campaign championed by Autism Speaks. You may ask why I am promoting this in another fashion. Let me provide a little history.
Autism awareness has been championed by the non-profit organization Autism Speaks since its inception. At its core, bringing perspective and knowledge about autism in to the mainstream has been a good thing. However, Autism Speaks’ research initiative in the past have been about curing autism. This is frowned upon by many, as autism has been identified over and over as a genetic variation and not an illness. Only recently has the organization removed references to finding a cure in their mission statements. In late 2017, they actually published results of a study where respondents stated this. Only time will tell if they act on this.
Autism Speaks’ budget is focused mainly on research. Increasingly, autistic people are crying out for services and accommodations. Money to assist support services in the Autism Speaks budget is at a single digit percentage level.
Many organizations, with Autism Speaks being one of the main perpetrators, will speak about autism without including perspectives from those that actually are autistic. In the aforementioned study, only about 20% of the respondents were actually autistic.
GOLD is a color that has been championed as an alternative to the Autism Speaks blue. The choice of gold is because the periodic table symbol is the first two letters of autism, au. So you will see The Story Project use gold as their chosen color theme.
As well, the puzzle piece used by Autism Speaks has seen a backlash. Many autistic people have responded that they do not like the connotations of “being a puzzle that needs to be solved.” So what you will see on The Story Project is the use of the infinity symbol. This symbol was adopted by the wider neurodiversity movement. It represents the unending way that neurodiversity can manifest itself.