A friend of mine messaged me to ask if I’d be offended by something, she had been sent one of those chain messages on facebook, there’s a thing going around where you put a daft/*funny* (yawn) status and when people comment on it you send them a secret message and then they write a *funny* status and so on. It is apparently for autism awareness.
Now, these things don’t offend me. As a special needs parent I’ve developed quite a thick skin through years of dealing with stupidity from the system that is supposed to help us and stupidity from ignorant intolerant people. I am not easily offended.
These things do annoy me though. I’ll explain why.
People know about autism, they know it’s a thing, what’s needed however is understanding of what it is and acceptance. I want people to accept my boys how they are without expecting them to change to fit in with a neurotypical society. And these facebook things do not in anyway add to understanding or acceptance. I mean how much are you actually contributing with a secret status? (The same applies when people do these for to raise awareness of cancer). I think that a lot of people (not all) will give themselves a pat on the back for doing their bit for autism but that pat on the back is not deserved at all. Not in my opinion.
The only way to actually raise awareness of the need for understanding and acceptance, and what I believe you should do if you really want to help, is to actually write something informative. If you want to use facebook for something like this post something, whether written by yourself or an article from the national autism society, for example that actually puts a message across. Not a cryptic message that really only serves to increase your own likes or interactions.
I, along with I think, many other special needs parents would welcome anything that was done to actually help to educate people in autism but don’t use my sons condition just to get likes on facebook.