Tomorrow is Autism Awareness Day, by some calendars at least. The United Nations, for example made a resolution in 2007 to designate April 2nd as “World Autism Awareness Day”.
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 18 December 2007 [on the report of the Third Committee (A/62/435)] 62/139.
World Autism Awareness Day The General Assembly,
Recalling the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the United Nations Millennium Declaration, as well as the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields,
Recalling also the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, according to which children with disabilities should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community, as well as the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children,
Affirming that ensuring and promoting the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities is critical to achieving internationally agreed development goals, Aware that autism is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life and results from a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, mostly affecting children in many countries irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status, and characterized by impairments in social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted, repetitive behaviour, interests and activities,
Deeply concerned by the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent development challenges to long-term health care, education, training and intervention programmes undertaken by Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, as well as its tremendous impact on children, their families, communities and societies,
Recalling that early diagnosis and appropriate research and interventions are vital to the growth and development of the individual,
1. Decides to designate 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day, to be observed every year beginning in 2008;
2. Invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Autism Awareness Day in an appropriate manner, in order to raise public awareness of autism;
3. Encourages Member States to take measures to raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding children with autism;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States and United Nations organizations.
76th plenary meeting 18 December 2007
While I’m sure that Autism Speaks lobbying had much to do with that resolution, it’s an awareness event. No where do you see any mention of Autism Speaks nor statements that we should “light it up blue”. Yet over the years, Autism Speaks has made autism awareness into autism speaks awareness. And no where is that more obvious than on April 2nd with their “light it up blue” event.
Is blue the color of autism? No. It’s the color of Autism Speaks. But Autism Speaks is out there asking people to shine blue lights for autism awareness. A whole section of their shop (yes, they have an online shop) is devoted to “light it up blue” merchandise. All complete with the Autism Speaks logo.
Here’s the text from the Autism Speaks web page on how to “light it up blue”. Each section brings you back to Autism Speaks. Shine a blue light..and project the Autism Speaks logo. Wear blue, including autism speaks pins or accessories. Blue=Autism speaks, basically.
How to LIUB
In honor of people with autism worldwide, iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, schools, universities, bridges, retail stores, and thousands of homes will light blue beginning on April 2!
Light Homes, Businesses, Schools, and Landmarks Blue
Change outdoor or indoor white bulbs to blue bulbs.
Tint windows with blue gel sheets
Cover existing fixtures with blue gel filters
Project the Autism Speaks puzzle piece or Light It Up Blue logo on walls or buildings
Ask family, friends, coworkers, and staff to wear blue (ties, scarfs, shirts, etc.)
Supply Autism Speaks lapel pins, bracelets, or other blue accessories to wear during the month of April.
Personalize your LIUB Selfie Sign to tell us where you Light It Up Blue
Post your photos on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or Flickr with the hashtag #LIUB to be a part of the global autism awareness movement!
Turn your website blue with our Site It Up Blue kit or add the Light It Up Blue logo with a link to autismspeaks.org/liub
Turn your Facebook or Twitter profile picture blue
Tweet autism facts with the hashtag #LIUB
Raise Awareness with Blue
Distribute information about autism, World Autism Awareness Day, and Light It Up Blue in your establishment, neighborhood, or company.
Invite a local Autism Speaks representative to speak to your staff, school, or town about autism and the Light It Up Blue campaign.
Reach out to local media to let the community know about your great work for the autism community and your support of autism speaks!
Click here to donate!
Text AUTISM to 25383 to give $10*
Host your own fundraising event
Use this form to mail funds to Autism Speaks
Hey, you can take a “light it up blue” selfie. Complete with Autism Speaks logo.
Autism Speaks is corporate autism. They do some things I appreciate and many things I really, really (really) don’t. For example, perpetuating the vaccines-cause-autism idea, an idea which may be second only to the refrigerator mother idea in causing harm to our community. Just in the past couple weeks Autism Speaks had to put out a new message on the idea, because the science based and helpful message by their Chief Science Officer conflicted with the non-science educated founder’s beliefs. Autism Speaks doesn’t have autistic voices in important positions within the organization, an amazing position given the sizable self-advocate population they claim to serve. Autism Speaks has a history of perpetuating stigmatizing messages (search for “I am autism” if you are unaware of this). Autism Speaks has funded quality research over the years and I appreciate that. But every time I start thinking Autism Speaks is starting down a good path they do something that reminds me: they are not my family’s autism organization. They don’t represent my values. They don’t represent my family.
I won’t be “lighting it up blue” tomorrow. I won’t be encouraging people to “light it up blue”. I hope people will be more aware of the needs of people like my kid. I hope more that they will act. I will follow up with another post, but I’ll say it here now: remember the phrase “think globally, act locally”? Feel like donating to an autism charity? I bet you have an autism school in your area and autism schools need donations. I bet there are adult programs in your area that could use some support. That’s my suggestion for April 2nd.
By Matt Carey