April 1, 2015:
Today marks the start of “Autism Awareness” month, a time of year when everywhere you look you’ll see the words “light it up blue”, puzzle pieces, and strong statements about Autism from controversial charity, Autism Speaks.
You probably think of Autism only in terms of how it affects children, not ever considering that there are Autistic adults out there. Even more likely, you don’t realize that Autistic adults are often nothing like Autistic children, and that the Autism spectrum is vast and varied. I speak from experience. I am an Autistic adult. And my being outspoken about this, as other Autistic adults commonly experience- is often met with a great deal of misunderstanding, and ableist attitudes.
The definition of Enigma is a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand. The word enigma usually bears a negative connotation. This color is called “Enigma” as my way of drawing attention to the misunderstood plight of the Autistic adult, and to shed light on the lack of supports that most Autistic adults face.
Autism Speaks relegates less than one-quarter of 1% of their donations towards providing support and services for adults on the Autism spectrum. You read that right- one quarter of just one percent, a figure taken directly from their publicly released financials. Most have no supports at all, and many are simply misdiagnosed. Autistic adults have the highest suicide rates of any disabled group. Most Autistic adults are unemployed, or have very sporadic employment.
50% of this Enigma’s sales for the month of April will be donated** to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), an organization which the Autism community collectively would like you to be aware of, and to support- instead of Autism Speaks (learn why!). The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as all other citizens. We work to empower Autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the Autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. Nothing About Us, Without Us!
Autistic adults don’t want to be seen as enigma. Stop the stigma. Your awareness that we exist is not the same as acceptance.
Understanding requires a shift in perspective, and a move from the realm of stigma and pathology into the recognition of the individuality and unique gifts we all bear. Neurodiversity is a beautiful thing.
Listen to Autistic voices. Check out the following hashtags on Twitter: #boycottAutismSpeaks #toneitdowntaupe #lovenotfear #walkinred #peoplenotpuzzles #actuallyAutistic #neurodiversity
** 50% of April sales of Enigma will be donated to ASAN. After April, 25% of sales will continue to be donated to ASAN.
Color Description: “Tone it down taupe” with borealis sparkles, representing the spectrum of neurodiversity. An easy to wear shade that you’ll reach for every day.