Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Critique of Autism Awareness Posters

I'm not sure how I feel about this poster.

I understand the purpose of graphics like this, but the problem with them is that they support a really narrow view of autism.  The pictures above (from UK charity at this site) are quite simplistic and depict autism as something simplistic as well, but we know that isn't the case.  Not all Autistics are alike, and while many Autistics display certain traits, it's upsetting when people lump all Autistics in to the same category and assume we all share the same characteristics.

Here's another example:

This poster is from a website that lists a series of "health problems" and includes autism on that list.  I have issues with the depiction of autism as a "health problem," but I'll get to that another time.  This is the site, if you're curious.

My point here?

Education is great!  I love education!  Education is the only cure for ignorance and, unfortunately, there is a lot of ignorance surrounding autism.  But we need to provide people with the right education.  We need to teach people that Autistics aren't all the same.  We need to tell people that all Autistics are unique and don't all display the same traits.

We need to teach people that being Autistic is not a disability but rather a difference.