Monday, June 30, 2014

Who Speaks for Oscar the Grouch? @SesameWorkshop

When I was growing up as an undiagnosed Autistic, Oscar the grouch was my favorite character on Sesame Street. If you replace the word "Grouch" with Autistic, his life story parallels mine. Oscar the Grouch and I are both lovable and difficult to get along with at the same time. Like me Oscar has unusual and intense interests that keep him happy.

He also needs regular support from his friends and family. He has days where he just wants to hide in his trash can and tell everyone to scram! The friendly people of Sesame Street are mindful of Oscars needs and include him in their daily life. They never allow him to be alone in his trash can too long. Most people find the word "grouch" to be a bad thing but Oscar wears the Grouch label with pride! Oscar comes from a long line of Grouches with their own Grouch culture and Grouch history.

Grouches even have their own Grouch anthem and Grouch-run organizations where they complain for their Grouchly rights.

Now what would happen if a new organization called Grouchiness Speaks came to Sesame Street claiming to speak for all Grouches like Oscar? What if the new organization called grouchiness a tragedy and claimed Oscar was a burden to the trash collectors who support him? Would Sesame Street support an organization run by humans for the purpose of finding a way to prevent and cure grouchiness? There would be no Grouches on the board of directors and any Grouches who speak out against it would be silenced or ignored. Only two percent of the budget for Grouchiness Speaks would go towards abusive therapies designed to make Grouches appear less Grouchy. The rest of the budget would pay for advertisements to spread stigma against grouchiness and the padded salaries of the top officials in the organization.

That is exactly what Sesame Street has done by partnering with Autism Speaks.

The Autistic community has united to let Sesame Street know that they should tell Autism Speaks to Scram! Oscar the Grouch would do the same.
From Katherine Hall at My Life as a Feral Autistic

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