April 2023 is Autism Acceptance Month
April 2023 is National Autism Acceptance Month. It used to be called Autism Awareness Month, but in the last 10 years, the focus has shifted towards acceptance.
People who are neurodivergent are always going to be the way they are, and process the world differently than others do. Finding acceptance in society will go a long way towards helping them to live happy and productive lives.
USA Today News tells us,
According to ASAN, Autism Acceptance Month was created by and for autistic people to respect the rights and humanity for all autistic people and center “the perspectives and needs of autistic people with intellectual disabilities, nonspeaking autistic people, and autistic people with the highest support needs.”
Helping people with Autism to find their place in a society that lacks understanding and acceptance of the way that they live their lives is the focus of National Autism Acceptance Month.
According to the CDC,
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often have problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.
By learning more about Autism, and educating ourselves about the societal struggles that people with Autism face, we can go a long way towards fostering acceptance of those with Autism.
Many people with Autism have difficulty in forming relationships with others who are not on the spectrum, and with finding employment as adults. Also, there are many people with Autism who weren't diagnosed as children that are now being diagnosed as adults. This is especially true for women, in whom symptoms may be less noticeable than with men.
Diagnosing Autism early can help those with Autism get the interventions that they need to be able to function within society, and to receive the help that they may need. Living with undiagnosed Autism can lead to many struggles throughout their lifetimes.
The more we can learn about Autism, the more people with Autism can be better diagnosed and treated. There have been many harmful therapies that have been in place in the past that continue to be used today.
Also, one of the most well-known Autism organizations, Autism Speaks, is geared more to parents of children with Autism than those with Autism themselves. Many Autistic adults have spoken out against the harm that this organization has done with children, and advise against donating resources to Autism Speaks. So, if you want to donate to support Autism, it is important to do your research to find a good charity to support.
According to the Washington Post,
At the same time, more autistic adults have argued that they need to be at the center of any policymaking that affects their lives. This contrasts with Autism Speaks, which was founded by Bob and Suzanne Wright when their grandson was diagnosed with autism. The objectives of the organization have largely involved serving families — they have resources for parents, siblings and grandparents, but little for autistic people.
The voices of autistic people should be at the forefront of any campaigns about Autism. They know what it is like to live life as Neurodivergent, and they deserve to have their voices heard. This can help to create acceptance as well when those in the Autism community are allowed to speak up louder than the voices of parents of Autistic children.
Autism Speaks has suggested in the past that when a child receives an Autism diagnosis, it is natural to grieve for the child as if they had received a Leukemia diagnosis. However, Autism isn't killing anyone. Autistic people can still lead full lives after a diagnosis.
If we are able to educate others about what Autism is and what it isn't, and create a greater acceptance in society for those on the spectrum, then we can go a long way toward helping create a more accepting society where Autistic people can be themselves and find their place.