I have been laying low this April during Autism Awareness month. Generally, April seems to bring out all the crazies and I am trying to avoid them. I don’t really appreciate women who call themselves “Autism Moms” when they do not themselves have autism. It seems they are trying to gain an identity through their child’s disability. I also really don’t like puzzle pieces or t shirts with puzzle pieces that say “He is my heart, I am his voice”. First of all, this makes it seem like only boys are autistic. Furthemore, Boo Bear has his own voice and can speak for himself. I am not his voice, never have been, never will be. I am his mom, I am an autism mom, I am an advocate, but I am not his voice. Boo has his own voice and he is using it.
Boo has a new communication device, a Nova Chat, that let’s him communicate all sorts of important things. Here are a couple of examples. Yesterday he got off the bus in a great mood. He was happy that I had a Subway sandwich waiting for him. He was so excited that he almost devoured my thumbs along with the sandwich. After he consumed his tasty treat he seemed to be looking for something else. I sat on the couch and waited to see what he would do. In a moment, he brought me his device and sat down next to me. Very politely, he told me he wanted to to to Taco Bell and have a Strawberry Freezie. I did not even hesitate. Gloria, Boo, and I hopped in the car and headed out for Taco Bell. Five minutes later he had his beloved drink. Then, because we were in such a good mood, we headed over to Caribou so I could get a latte and Gloria could get her beloved pup cup.
Later that night Alissa came over to hang out with Boo so we could go to Kung Fu. She decided to take him to Target. In the car she told him she was sorry but their favorite radio station was now only playing Christian music. Boo used his device to ask her to change the station. After their trip to Target Boo piped up again and requested a trip to McDonalds for fries and a Sprite. Alissa happily complied.
So, here are multiple examples of Boo using his voice to get his needs met. He does not need me to speak for him, he just needs me to listen. Autism does not need a cure. Autism needs so much more than just awareness one month a year. Autism is amazing and needs to be recognized and advocated for 12 months a year, not just in April when people trot out blue puzzle pieces. The color blue assumes that only males have autism. The puzzle piece suggests that we (autistics) do not fit in and should be forced to meld into some neurotypical puzzle not of their own design. Red is the preferred color for autism. A rainbow infinity symbol (such as the tattoo on my arm) is the preferred symbol. Autism $peaks does not speak for me or for my family. My autistic children can speak for themselves. Thank you and peace out, y’all.