What I learnt from world Autism day this year.

Posted: April 4, 2015 in Uncategorized
I  had a dream where an Aboriginal elder gave me a traditional Aboriginal name fitting for their culture “He who has the social skill of skunk”. At the time I asked him if it was because I was a hopeless romantic like Peppy le Pew from the Bugsy Bunny show, to which he replied “No, it’s because you are awkward and no one wants to be around you very long.” All jokes aside, however, at the World Autism Awareness day, Winnipeg event put on by Mike Williwand and PACE I was surprised to see how diverse the audience and members of the community are. Autism can affect people from all walks of life, which means that people on the spectrum often face challenges that I cannot even fathom. On top of being different and having to deal with any problems that may arise because of their Autism, they may also face Racism, Sexism, Transphobia, or any other kinds of discrimination. In addition, my parents were able to provide all kinds of additional supports for me because we were middle-class that I would not have had in place, otherwise. Other people are not so lucky. I am sure that people on the Autism spectrum are equally represented among homeless people. On the other hand, panhandling is the only job where it doesn’t discriminate against people on the spectrum, as everyone is awkward when they are asking for money. You can’t really be faulted for not remembering to shower if you don’t have access to one and no one looks at you strangely if you draw connections between conversational topics other people can’t see. I wonder if the homeless are more tolerant because so many of them are
dealing with mental illness or if the homeless individual with Autism has to sit at his own burning barrel. Although, it has to be hard when no one will snuggle so you can both keep warm. 
  I wonder if in indigenous tribes where chiefdom is passed down by hereditary lines, the chief’s son with Autism, behind his back is referred to as the tribe’s “chief embarrassment”? Or whether the position and title is ever passed down to someone else, instead.  There is so much that I don’t know about how different cultures and Autism have intertwined and can really only write this blog from my own personal experience. The Autism walk just struck this point home to me, more than ever before.

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