Many of us are aware of this whole communication shutdown thing that's supposed to happen on November 1. Many bloggers have written eloquently on this. Emily wrote at A Life Less Ordinary? that she wouldn't be shutting down. Corina wrote at No Stereotypes Here about speaking loudly on that day. I put a post on the directory saying I wouldn't be shutting down; I'd be visiting my friends on the spectrum and commenting on their blogs. Many other bloggers have written about this, and Marianne from the shutdown event has been going around to blogs commenting and attempting to clarify. And of course, invoking an appeal to authority and celebrity by invoking Temple Grandin.
I responded to her comment at the directory as follows:
Since there are still many people who do not use twitter or facebook, and since these people who sign off for the day can still talk and go on about their real world social lives, they won't get anywhere close to awareness of what it's like to be autistic.
Not going on facebook isn't going to give anybody an idea of my son's life or my daughters's lives. And if folks aren't on facebook, twitter, the internet, it doesn't follow that autistic's voices will be all the louder. Who will be listening to them? Really?
No, no, and again no. So, the NTs give some money, get a badge, get to say they're next to Temple Grandin, and feel good about themselves while the autistic individuals who use the social media for their primary communications find themselves further isolated because their NT friends have gone suddenly silent.
I'll pass. And when I choose to give to charities, I'll directly give to those charities where I know how my dollars are spent, and I won't be doing it so I can show a nifty badge and toot my own horn about how aware I am. I'll continue to advocate for awareness, accommodations, and acceptance by running this directory with Kathleen and by communicating directly with autistic individuals.
Oh, and I'll be teaching my three children, who just happen to be on the spectrum, to be wary of gimmicks and promotions that don't actually help the people they purport to.