April is "Autism Awareness Month". Ironically, I was not aware of that. I learned it from Kim Stagliano on the Age of Autism site, where she is the managing editor. Here's Kim's introduction:
So here it is, April 1st. The kickoff of "Autism Awareness" month. I'm going to do my best to never refer to these 30 days as being about awareness. If I am "aware" that a child is drowning in my pool and do nothing I'm off to jail for negligence, right?
I agree with Kim. The idea of "awareness" seems silly to me. I'm not even sure that awareness is an issue anymore. Is there anyone left out there who's not "aware" of autism? Ignorance, however, is another story. What percentage of the people who are aware of autism actually understand it? I'd be all for "Autism Understanding" month. I could have used that a few years (months? days? minutes?) ago. As long as: a) there's someone out there who believes there's even the smallest element of truth to Dennis Leary's stupid rant about autism, b) "Rain Man" continues to be the "picture" of autism, and c) some people still think "those kids just need a bit more discipline", we've got a long way to go on the "understanding" front.
Update: I was pleased to see this from the Autism Society of America. This is far more useful than wrist bands and bumper stickers. I'd like to see a lot more of this type of information disseminated about autism than things that merely promote "awareness". This is useful, practical information. This helps create understanding.
Some of you might be thinking that I only made this post as an excuse to link that awesome picture at the top from Kim's site. If you're cynical to believe that, then....um.....you probably know me pretty well.