How do you feel about her handing these out? She was asking my supervisor. I had already left. The event was called A Celebration of Disability. Only one booth had a puzzle piece displayed. Of course it was the local autism society. I had taken with me a fresh supply of these cards and left a few at the table.
She explained to him that the puzzle piece is about not understanding autism. There was some discussion of my being “high functioning” or some such thing. So this morning, there was the conversation with the supervisor. We have to listen to all sides of the issue. That sort of thing. Everyone has a right to his or her views and opinions.
I don’t disagree. Everyone does have a right. But there is a problem. There are many, many more non-autistic people than autistic people. If everyone’s voice counts equally, we will always lose. I don’t expect the autism societies will give up their puzzle pieces any time soon. It’s an issue of branding. Everyone knows the puzzle piece “means” autism. That familiarity is more important to the autism societies than the consequences to autistic people of being objectified and silenced.
I would like to see increased recognition that autistics are a minority group. Whether or not you believe that autistic people are the true experts on autism, shouldn’t we be heard when we say that a particular representation of autism is offensive? Not everyone thinks so. We all have our own opinions.