|Autistic people accommodating, accepting —
and having fun with — other autistic people.
[image: white boy with a green straw in his mouth
pinching the elbow of a white woman with long
dark hair and noise-canceling headphones.]
Shannon Des Roches Rosa
It’s World Autism Acceptance Day, which kicks off World Autism Acceptance month. Those are not usually exciting statements for us — historically April overwhelmingly generates pity-based “autism awareness” campaigns, but we’re seeing a lot more positivity and autism acceptance this year. More acceptance is fabulous, and very welcome.
Acceptance rather than mere awareness is being honored at non-autistic-centric places as diverse and cool as the United Nations, where NeuroTribes author Steve Silberman gave the #WAAD16 opening keynote; most successful company in the world Apple, which produced an Autism Acceptance video featuring a non-speaking autistic teen successfully using AAC to communicate at home, and at a regular high school; and feminist nerdgasm site The Mary Sue, featuring autistic writer Nova Mona’s essay Autism Doesn’t Make Me Blue: How to Support Autistic People This April.
Why the focus on acceptance rather than awareness? As I wrote at BlogHer:
“Acceptance means autistic people matter. Awareness just means we know
autistic people exist. Awareness doesn’t draw any distinctions between epidemic-mongering, pseudo-science-promoting parents publicly embarrassing their autistic children, and autistic people themselves speaking up for better recognition and inclusion.”
What are some ways you can observe World Autism Acceptance Day? Glad you asked. Check out:
- The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s Autism Acceptance Month project
- Autism Women’s Network’s Help Make April Amazing!
- Autism Acceptance Day and Month, from Paula Durbin-Westby
- The Real Social Skills t-shirt, which proclaims “Noncompliance Is a Social Skill”
- The #AutismMeans April event series, via @AutismMeans, on Twitter
- The #RoyalBlueForAutismAwareness campaign (NOT associated with Autism Speaks or #LIUB), “To provide information regarding Autism to communities that are usually underrepresented in most major campaigns”
- The autistic-led #WalkInRed campaign to counter Autism Speaks’s Light It Up Blue efforts (this year with #RedInstead), for example:
— Ink & Daggers (@MeredithKUltra) April 2, 2016
[Image description: Five diversely autistic people of various ages, abilities, and races, tinted and wearing Red.]
And here at TPGA we’ll be featuring autistic voices all April long, talking about Why Accommodations Matter. We have some truly great essays lined up, so come back daily and watch that Autism Acceptance needle get pushed a little bit forward, every day.