April is Autism Acceptance Month
Updated: Apr 25
April is Autism Acceptance Month.
It used to be Autism Awareness Month. But awareness is not enough. A social media graphic is not enough. Changing our profile pic to support the cause is not enough. Acceptance is much more.
Awareness is saying “I know that you exist”
Acceptance is saying “I am glad that you are here”
While people don’t intentionally disregard or disrespect disabled people or those with neurodivergent differences, we are surrounded by many ableist narratives. In my opinion, this is not because of bad intentions. This is because neurotypical and neurodivergent people experience the world differently.
Let us make active changes in our lives to support Autism. Let us educate ourselves. Follow autistic voices. Teach the next generation to be more accepting and supportive of differences. I am sharing a beautiful infographic from Autistic Bride below.
Image Credit: Autistic Bride
I have elaborated on the post below. Please feel free to reach out if you would like more resources.
How to support the Autistic Community
Listen to autistic voices and perspectives.
The majority of the autistic community prefers using Identity-first language to describe themselves Not people-first language i.e. Autistic NOT a person with Autism. Language and semantics can be complicated, especially within the autism community. If not sure, ask the autistic person their preference.
Avoid Functioning labels "high functioning/low functioning". We are not describing a broken machine. Instead, let’s describe their support needs as "Low support needs” or “high support needs”
Adopt the Social model of describing Autism instead of the Medical model, ‘tragedy narratives’ and harmful language such as ‘suffering from autism’. Question therapy goals for "normalization" or "cure" of neurodivergence.
Provide for equitable access and inclusion in all settings. To make this happen, provide knowledge to the community and appropriate accommodations for the individual.
Symbols-Use gold or rainbow infinity symbols NOT blue puzzle pieces. The majority of the autistic community chooses the infinity symbol to represent infinite possibilities of personality, function, traits, challenges, skills, and potential. The rainbow infinity stands for the embracing of all neurological uniqueness. The gold infinity symbol was chosen as the first two letters of autism and autistic are "Au" which is the chemical symbol for gold. They have vociferously conveyed that the puzzle piece implies that they are not complete people, that autism is something to be ashamed of because it means there are missing a piece of themselves.
Support organizations that help and include autistic people i.e. AutisticSupport and Advocacy Network (ASAN) and Autism Level UP
Image Credit: Autistic Bride