Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Autism Acceptance, by Lisa Richard

My whole life I have been led to believe something is fundamentally wrong with me. I have been labeled time and time again. At the age of four it was High Functioning Autistic, at 14 it was Aspergers Syndrome and at 19 it was Bipolar. I've been called spoiled, out of control, a menace, a drug addict, a people user, a loser and just an all around bad person. My whole life I have had pills shoved down my throat and doctors thrown in my face. Now at almost 26 years old I've found a community that not only understands every trial and tribulation I have experienced but has been there too. I am on the spectrum and now I can see it something to be proud of. My whole life people tried to make me conform to fit the mold society expects from its citizens but not once has society ever stepped back and said "How can we conform to make you feel welcome?". I am not a disease, I am not a mistake. I am unique and strong like so many before me. I am intelligent and devious. Brilliant and flawed. I have Aspergers Syndrome and I don't need a cure. I don't need a day to remind me to be aware because every day I am reminded of my struggle to find a place in this world that was not meant for people like me. But this year I have come to find there are others like me, and we're taking our place in society, one step at a time we are making our voices and feelings heard. No longer will we lie back and be treated like less than equals. Our numbers are growing, not because of a flaw in the system, not because of poisons or environmental factors but because today instead of locking us away never to be seen or heard from we are diagnosed and embraced and we will stand together and we will fight to be heard. The verbals will speak for our brothers and sisters that cannot and we will not dismissed. This is a war that will be won. We are your neighbors, your friends, your family, your children, your heros. We are NOT Rainman, we are Einstein, Newton, Bill Gates. On this day that makes the world aware of what we fight with everyday don't look at us with pity, don't hold your head down with sadness at what you as a disability because that is not what we need. We need acceptance and love, understanding and patience. We DO NOT need a cure, we need a world that isn't always looking for a magic bullet to make everyone a cookie cutter image repeated over and over again. I am proud to be on this ever increasing spectrum every single day and I will never again be told that the way my brain functions is flawed or broken. I am who I was meant to be and I will not stand for ignorance any more... Thank you for taking the time today to think upon the message of Awareness but please don't forget about it tomorrow or next month or next year. We live with everyday and so should you. "Sickness will surely take your mind where minds can't usually go, come on the amazing journey and learn all you should know."