When I first started blogging, I only just had immersed myself into the the Autism Subculture and one topic that I kept seeing was that we, population of individuals on the Spectrum, no longer needed to increase awareness instead needed to push for acceptance for individuals on the Spectrum.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Lets go over the definitions real quick.
Awareness or Aware is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as "having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge" or more simpler termed by "knowing something (such as a situation, problem, or condition exists; feeling, experiencing, or noticing something (such as a sound, sensation, or emotion); and knowing and understanding a lot about what is happening in the world or around you."
Acceptance is defined simply by Merriam-Webster dictionary as "the act of accepting someone or something". Since the word we are defining is in the definition, lets see what the definition of the root word of accept is by the same dictionary. Accept is defined in simple terms of as " to receive or take (something offered), to take (something) as payment, to be able or designed to take or hold (something)." This is vague, so I'll give you the whole definition which is, "to receive willingly <accept a gift>, to be able or designed to take or hold (something applied or added) <a surface that will not accept ink>, to give admittance or approval to <accept her as one of the group>, to endure without protest or reaction <accept poor living conditions>, to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable <the idea is widely accepted>, to recognize as true : believe <refused to accept the explanation>, to make a favorable response to <accept an offer>, to agree to undertake (a responsibility) <accept a job>, to assume an obligation to pay; also : to take in payment <we don't accept personal checks>, to receive (a legislative report) officially." I have underlined and bolded the definitions of accept that are prevalent to this writing.
So from these definitions, I have wondered what these individuals that are pushing for acceptance mean. What are they truly pushing to be accepted? Do they just want to be included? Does this crowd want acceptance in terms of being recognized by the world? Do they want acceptance for who they are as is?
Almost every instance these questions are not answered because I think there are a vast of individuals that truly just want is to be accepted for who they are as is. Not trying to improve their circumstance in this world that they were not asked to born in and not understanding that everyone everywhere has to make changes to themselves as a person to improve the circumstances that they were born into. But I will leave that for another post.
I personally believe awareness is the key, with a few critical times where acceptance is needed. I say this because as an individual in this world, I may not agree with everyone or their beliefs/truths or why they are the way they are because I am not them and will only see the world through my experiences and not theirs. However I can learn as much as I can in order to understand where they are coming from. In time I might be more of accepting of them and who/why they are, but that comes with time and commitment. Which can not be forced or it will just be fake.
What I think should be accepted when it comes to the Autism population is: that this population is growing with every generation with little resources to help them succeed; that behavior is communication, not just verbal speech; that environment is everything for the growth for a kid apart of this population, which includes a loving family atmosphere that is not afraid to push them to their limits, and that being different is not wrong or bad.
Do ya'll think it's more important for Awareness of Autism or Acceptance of Autism or both? Like to hear your thoughts.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum