~Rumi

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there...Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison...I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

Search This Blog

03 October 2012

Accept Difference. It's Time.


Humankind has fostered great acceptance and enthusiasm toward what seems to be a fascinating and comprehensive number of plant and animal species. Is it not a status symbol of sorts to have a noteworthy collection of National Geographic magazines?

I have been reading National Geographic since I was a young child. It fills me with utter delight to hold a fresh copy within my hands. As I venture into the magazine, I know that I will read and learn about the world in mostly positive exciting ways.

The discovery of a new plant, or the study of a newfound creature, warrants utmost caution, care, and environmental respect. Scientists often go through great lengths to efficiently recreate plant and animal environments while learning and teaching, as it would be an abomination to encroach upon, change, or redirect the fine ecosystem of a unique organism. Press and media surrounding new discoveries is, more times that not, carefully thought out and sincere in its depiction. Mistakes may be pointed out and corrected, but generally, there is mentionable collaboration amongst scientists and other involved peoples. Oftentimes, the species or organism itself is allowed to do the teaching.

What if there were to be an Autism Geographic magazine? I can only imagine the excitement of collecting such a periodical. Inside, there would be autistic people worldwide doing all sorts of different things in different environments. I would run my fingers over the high gloss pages and spend a lot of time rereading the most enticing articles.

I can’t imagine that there would be many people who would want to crush, alienate, or annihilate a new plant or animal species—unless it proved to be fatal to our survival.

Unfortunately, there are many wells from which prejudice is drawn from. And both hatred and misunderstanding stem from fear and miscommunication. It was not so long ago when mass consciousness projected thoughts that women, people of color, foreigners, and children, for example, were not only of lesser status, but also of unsound mind. Disability has been accommodated to some point, but there has not been enough of a shift in public perception regarding those who are different. Only in recent times, has the voice of the autistic come to be heard. Despite the best of intentions from those who care, wrongdoing and atrocity continue to prevail while feeding from ignorance and widespread lack of education.

We live in an indispensable world that dispenses. We are, at times, divided and broken, yet there is always power amongst like-minded individuals. There need only be one catalyst to ignite magnificent change.

Autistic children grow to be autistic adults. It is imperative that resources be directed toward providing and sustaining appropriate and effective education, integration, acceptance, opportunity, and legal protection. Housing and quality healthcare are also of utmost importance.

Voices, both autistic and non-autistic, are rising above the suffocating binds of invisibility, oppression, and misrepresentation. Now is the time to strike. Who will choose to be on board?


[Article originally published on Change.org 23 March 2009]

4 comments:

  1. I was talking to my classes this week about this point. Not in reference to autism, this time, but in relation to an experience I head watching the end of discrimination of a child as part of a research project. The event if you google Zoe Ross & toronto star. But the point is, which is just to support what you're saying, is that when the child was given the tools to actively participate in what others were doing, the toddlers began to see her as a person, another interesting species on the whole continuum, whereas before, when she was unable to 'play' she was not even considered to be a person. The realization of personhood was facilitated by the mere addition of a social technology that allowed her to play how and where she wanted, just as everyone else played how and where they wanted. Being actively engaged in one's own interests became the continuity across difference that created a link that never was broken after that.

    I like the idea of a geography of people, that put us all in contexts that could be shared across difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jason! Thank you so much for stopping by--your support means a lot to me! And yes, being actively engaged in our interests can link differences and bring us together in exciting, productive, and/or respectful ways. May we unite in our varied geography!

      Delete
  2. I can't help but notice that this was published in March 2009. Nearly four years later and while some things have changed, I still find myself writing (to audiences not usually exposed to autism issues) about the same issues, sometimes with new stories, sometimes relying on the classics, and still seeing how shocked people are that it is happening.

    To stop it, to really stop it, we still have to reach a lot more people who have no personal motivation in the matter.

    ReplyDelete