Let the stars shine
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard that it’s Autism Awareness Month, or as many of us would prefer, Autism Acceptance Month.
You might be wondering what you can do to contribute. You might have heard a lot of contradictory messages. Here’s what I’d advise, presented in my usual style of a metaphor more labored than a blue whale giving birth.
Among stargazers, there’s a term called “light pollution”. This basically refers to when light from stronger, usually artificial sources like houses overwhelms the light of the stars so that you can’t get a good look at the night sky in all its glory.
Something similar tends to happen with public discourse on autism, where the voices of those who are not themselves autistic tend to be given more of a platform, and in turn drown out the millions of actual autistics struggling to be heard.
I think it’s time we turned down the lights so that the stars can shine. We live in a wondrous world where the miracle of social media allows us to communicate on a scale never before seen in human history. Let’s use this to amplify autistic voices. Share posts, blogs, and messages from actual autistics. Listen to what we have to say. If you want to know something, ask us.
Artificial light has a purpose, but that purpose is not to smother the stars.