It’s hard to believe that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was only adopted 14 years ago in 2006. It became effective in 2008. In 2020, not a single country abides to it in its entirety. Only individual articles are sometimes put into action, depending how much or little money can be used to do so.
The United Nations also launched the annual World Autism Awareness Day in 2008. This day was supposed to highlight autism and the added barriers that restrict our participation in daily social activities and daily life in general.
When I was a kid, my mother made photo albums for each of her children and added drawings we made during these years. When you take out these paintings, it reads on the back: “Appletree, Marlies, age 2”. “Appletree, Marlies, age 3”. “Appletree, Marlies, age 4”. “Appletree, Marlies, age 5”.
Child care workers, teachers and my parents all agreed – that was weird. But hey still weren’t able to find an explanation. Girls with autism? That wasn’t possible, because after all, it didn’t exist. Well, that’s what everyone thought, but where does this assumption stem from?
In a matter of days, life as we knew it in Austria has changed. The news cycle is evolving by the minute. New governmental rules are in place that an impact on our daily lives. To make sure the curve of Covid-19 infections is flattened as much as possible, it’s likely that similar measures will be taken in Germany as well. In this text I will focus on what is currently happening in Austria.
Many people are scared and worried about what is happening and have a hard time dealing with it. And even though people like to crack jokes about it – especially autistics can have a particularly hard time dealing with this new situation. All these changes are scary and can consume a lot of energy. The information overload and many of the instructions are vague and spark new questions:
Am I allowed to meet another person for a walk, if this person is not living with me? Am I allowed to go for a jog? Are dog parks still open to the public? Is someone allowed to drop by my apartment if I need help? When is my need of help valid? Which appointments do I have to cancel and which do I have to take? And who on earth is going to answer all my other questions?
When a menstrual Emoji was added to the list of official Emojis in 2019, it triggered heated discussions. This emoji was intended to encourage girls and women as well as people with uterus to handle their periods confidently and naturally.
In the commentary columns and social media, many users indignantly demanded the removal of the little red drop of blood. They saw no need to talk about something like menstruation.