July 23, 2021

Why do some #ActuallyAutistic advocates make a “big deal” about “little things” like colors, symbols, and terms?

Because those things are like a canary in a coal mine.

A person or organization who isn’t willing to budge on words or images is more likely to resist autistic input on bigger issues, too. If they aren’t even aware of common autistic preferences, that’s also cause for caution – it means they aren’t making an effort to learn from our experience.

On the flipside, I’ve seen a local autism organization completely rebrand for the sake of its autistic members. Unsurprisingly, they immediately followed that with more meaningful actions – like an autistic advisory council, and more events led by self-advocates.

When so many people don’t listen to you, it sharpens your ability to identify those who will. The little things may be valuable in their own right, but they also serve as an important clue.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.