The Autism Awareness Association at UC Davis
So, I am now a 3rd year at UC Davis, and have been involved in many campus organizations.
The Autism Awareness Association is one which I pay close attention to on Facebook, and I occasionally go to its meetings. It was started by an autistic student Jay Lytton quite a few years back, and I think he had good intentions, wanting autistic college students to get the resourses they need. However, he has graduated before I set foot in Davis. Ever since I have known about the club, I had the suspicion that it was going to lean in the curebie direction, considering its association with the MIND Institute, and you named it, Autism Speaks!!! And of course, the "awareness" title surely doesn't help, because what good does "awareness" do when one doesn't also advocate for acceptance?
I was right. Not one of the officers talked about their own experience with autism. It was all about their brothers, sisters, cousins, and children they have worked with. Some of the MIND institude staff had the wrong ideas, and it is doubtful that the students in the club knew which ones to trust. I have also seen bulletins posted about the club participating in the Autism Speaks Walk, and I thought, that's it! I am not associating with them again. But I will still keep watch on what they are doing, and make sure I can spread the right kind of awareness in response.
There are some things the club does which I think can be very helpful, such as the Fun Run, which raises money for equestrian therapy. I know the girl who came up with that idea, and she's on the spectrum herself, so kudos to her.
But overall, I am not too jazzed about the club's message, and its reffering to us in third person as though we are not a significant part of the club.