Anti-ableist kidlit celebrating neurodiverse characters. Curated by an #ActuallyAutistic parent, tested & approved by a hyperactive & autistic kiddo. Find more at www.booksforlittles.com
Are you here in search of 'Autism Awareness' stories? Welcome. BUT ALSO:
Speaking as an Autistic adult & neurodiversity advocate, I'd like to invite you to reconsider your highlight on autism 'awareness' - with a focus instead on Autism Acceptance.
Ideally, Autistics wouldn't have to deal with anything targeting us in the month of April as this month was designated by non-Autistic people to be about us, without us. The drive for 'autism awareness' (also known as Autism Speaks' Light it Up Blue) campaign is generally regarded by many neurodiversity self-advocates (including myself) to be a cash-grab exploiting ableism (bewareness) for the profit of non-Autistic people (also known as 'allistics').
April is a horrible, horrible month for Autistic people. Organizations such as Autism Speaks (you might also see them referred to as 'Autism $peaks') are run by non-autistic people, capitalizing on fear, misinformation, allistic-centering, and general ableism to fund non-Autistic 'experts,' parent bloggers, ABA therapists and other associated folks in the industry of 'fighting' autism or raising bewareness about how terrible we make the world and traumatize our families by being born. The role of this campaign is to sideline us, 'manage' us, force us to mask as allistic, and prevent more of us from being born. It is, of course, primarily driven by white 'Autism Warrior Parents' interested in creating a brand of victimization for profit.
The Autism Awareness movement is not interested in creating and guiding policy for an inclusive society that allows Autistic folks to thrive. It's dedicated to forcing us to assimilate, self-harm, and die out. Just the phrases 'Autism Awareness' can trigger Autistics. I don't use this word lightly in the 'snowflake' way - I mean many of us have been experienced PTSD and CPTSD from childhood behavioral therapy and abuse, along with invasive physical abuse (think bleach enemas, being targeted by antivaxxers, forced sterilization, forced family separation, and both attempted and successful filicide.)
Organizations such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), and the Autism Women & Nonbinary Network, along with campaigns such as #LightItUpRed, #ToneItDownTaupe, and can provide more information on this issue. We also have Autistic Speaking Day (November 1). Along with the broader disability rights movement - such as #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs, and organizations such as ADAPT (which includes but is not limited to neurodiverse disabilities), and most recently on March 1st - Disability Day of Mourning acknowledging those murdered by family members and institution caretakers. We even have a series of articles summarizing the basic introductory concepts behind anti-ableism in children's literature here.
Please consider asking your community to retire 'Autism Awareness/Bewareness' with Autism Acceptance - and to consider thoughtfully accepting booklists from non-autistic people about us, without us. There are many books out there - written by parents and medical 'experts' who profit off stigmatizing us, joking about incarcerating, sterilizing, and killing us.
Related: The books on this list have been screened & vetted by both me and a child, both of whom are #ActuallyAutistic.