As you're unfortunate enough to already know, it is Autism Awareness Month. I've written a tumblr post and a facebook status encouraging "autism unawareness," which is kind of an attempt to make fun of Autism Awareness Month in as few words as possible, but I'm also wondering if Autism Unawareness is a reasonable goal, joking aside.
First off this would seem like a ridiculous thing to say. Obviously disabled people need help with things, or at least need someone to recognize they will be doing things differently, or that things feel different. This is something that non-disabled people should be "aware" of. Right?
I more or less agree with this sentiment, and I also find that when, in my Autism Unawareness posts, I have suggested that people without autism get to know people with autism without thinking about their disabilities, I am beginning to resemble a line of thinking that many disability groups use, but which the Autistic Community tends to dislike and reject. Basically this is just the idea that people with our disability are just like everyone else and should be treated as "people not disabled people" whatever the fuck that means. The problem with this attitude is that's it like: a)disability isn't important, b)disabled people should be accepted and included in society because disability isn't important, c)if God forbid some disabled person's disability is important, then...where does that leave that person? If they really, really aren't like everyone else, can they be accepted too?
However, I think it is possible to say that you should be "unaware" of someone's autism, in the sense of not having Autism Awareness about their autism, without saying that you shouldn't accommodate people or that you should ignore the important of their disability to their life and identity. I think part of being a decent person is the sensitivity to understand what other people need and experience, and what's important to them. A person who treats everyone as an individual, instead of assuming people are like them, and also has knowledge of different oppressions, knows most of what they need to know to live in a world with people who have autism. Much more than any Autism Awareness brochure could ever teach them.
And personally I think it's better that someone be 100% unaware in every way than that they have Autism Awareness, if I had to make a choice--although I'd rather they be Autism Unaware, and also be sensitive and decent.