Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Representation Matters

So April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day, and I'm sad to say that I missed it. It's incredibly important that people become more aware of autism-related issues, specifically how those on the autism spectrum are treated like problems to be solved. Many of those actually on this spectrum don't want to be cured. They don't think of the way their minds work as a problem or a burden on others, but simply as something outside the norm.

And isn't that fantastic? For people who are different than the majority of the population to accept themselves and declare that they're not actually a burden just because other people won't bother to educate themselves on how to interact with someone on the autism spectrum?

As I've explained before, it's not hard.

But people don't educate themselves. They expect anyone whose mind or body functions differently from the norm to adjust to everybody else, no matter how difficult that is. Or they'd rather just pour tons of money and energy into finding a "cure" rather than just making minor adjustments in their own behavior around autistic people. Um.

So we have to rely on representation in media to educate the general population. There are a lot of harmful stereotypes about autistic people, and a lot of allistic people don't even understand that there's a spectrum. But if they can play some video games with accurate representations of autistic people, they might start to get it.

Check this out:

Writing characters, not symptoms: A gamer with autism discusses what our hobby gets wrong

You'll find on this list one game that actually gets it right, which I now plan to purchase, called To the Moon. If you really want to become aware of autism and like video games, consider getting this one. Also, Google is your friend, and avoid Autism Speaks.

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