We're here, We're Weird, We don't want any more bears.....
The above misquote comes from an episode of the Simpsons "Much Apu About Nothing".
After a single bear wanders into town, Homer stirs up the government to provide a "bear patrol" to rid the town of bears. On their protest march to the town hall Homer chants "We're here, we're queer, we don't want anymore bears" when Lenny asks if Homer came up with it Homer claims "Oh, I heard it at the mustache parade they have every year."
The excellent Charlie Wolf who sang this song on Youtube recently has designed these T-shirts in the name of reclaiming and raising autism awareness. I saw them today on Sister Wolf's heroic Blog.
What do you think?
(click on the image to embiggen it)
Charlie Wolf, 15, is a high school student who lives in California and has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.
He is a singer/songwriter who plays guitar, accordion, and harmonica.
Charlie also designs websites, and is producing his second CD of original music.
How do you feel about raising your autism awareness?
Should we be having a parade every year? (We could have Twirlers, Flappers, Spinners, and at the end a light show with hundreds of different torch beams.... )
or should we be trying to fit in with the neuro-typicals? Dress up in "normal" mufti and try to go unnoticed.
And does better awareness lead to better understanding, or more prejudice?
I'm out and proud, perhaps selfishly as I would rather people understood that my children have autism and ADD, than think I am a neglectful or incompetent parent.
I also feel a responsibility as a "brassneck" to try and inform and educate, where the meek may prefer to retreat. I think that is my calling.
However, I also respect and appreciate it when a parent and their child can go "undercover" and un-remarked upon; to go back in the Autism Closet if you like.
I think I love and admire those parents, as much as I do us flag wavers, because I understand the work that parent and child have put in to achieving that appearance of "normalcy". And boy, do I appreciate the level of intensive intervention that would have got them to that stage, and how much more work they must put in to maintain it.
There might be a car full of social stories, visual schedules and token reinforcement boards downstairs in the car park. There may be a set routine they are following to get through a situation that everyone else is just taking for granted.
Something as simple as a swimming lesson at a local pool, may be organised with the precision and planning of a military campaign.
But to everyone else at the pool, their little fella is just one of the kids.
We can usually spot each other, they know that the crazy lady in the wet shorts chasing a small wet haired girl across the foyer is "in the A-Club". Sure I might as well have a Tattoo as a T-shirt to show my pride.
And I know who they are, as they sit quietly enjoying their gluten and casein free crisps as a reward at the end of the "task".
But nobody else has to.
For Flapjack and all the other closets who worked so hard to get there. WE KNOW!