The Autism Blogs Directory has approximately 1,000 blogs, websites, and forums representing autistic bloggers, family members, professionals, and other disability-related bloggers. It's grown so large that as blogs move up on the feed with new posts, I'm often surprised by a new-to-me blog (yes, Kathleen and I add them all manually, but I don't always get to read everyone and there's no way I could read every blogger anymore). Our directory continues to grow, with a handful of blogs being added each week.
The diversity in bloggers is often astounding to me, and never more so as we officially kick off Autism Awareness or Autism Acceptance month, depending on who we are and what we want to accomplish. There is no way, given the breadth of experiences and emotions, that as a community we will ever be united when it comes to this month, unless it's in saying one month of effort to help autistics live the lives they want to and help families raising autistic children cope adaptively is not enough, not close to enough, and that awareness alone is woefully inadequate. Of course, even that belief, that we could be united around that, probably demonstrates more that I am Pollyannish than that there is actually a united belief in the community.
One thing's for sure: it will be an interesting month, as the various sides go up against each other, as some parents argue for their right to say publicly they hate autism (and technically they are right--freedom of speech means they absolutely can) and others argue that once you've been told something is painful, if you're a sensitive, empathetic person, you stop using rhetoric that hurts others, at least publicly. And cue people talking over each other rather than in a constructive dialogue.
In other words, little is likely to change as long as people approach this as their bully pulpit rather than a thoughtful exchange on how we can best serve the community and create real, lasting, and beneficial change in the real world.
Hot air on the internet without deliberate effort on the ground to effect changes that make abuse of the disabled illegal and a hate crime, to be prosecuted in the fullest; that limits severely the use of restraints and provides significant and real oversight of all restraint used (not covered up and hidden like in Florida schools); that gets legislatures and communities to take safe housing and fulfilling employment for the disabled at living wages seriously and as an absolute must; that makes the training of direct care staff a priority; that finally gets the Judge Rotenberg Center closed, shuttered, emptied, and those who abused the clients prosecuted; well, it's game-on as usual, then, isn't it?
Real change in the real world. Without that, this is all an exercise in circle-jerking.