Acceptance Instead Of Awareness
At this point, most people know what autism is. We dont really need awareness, but we do need acceptance and understanding. Each autistic person is unique and has their own amazing way they see the world. Autism acceptance can look like not judging when a child is having a meltdown in the middle of a grocery store because they have gotten overwhelmed because of lights and sounds. Or understanding when someone is stimming to self-regulate. There is a lot to learn about autism from autistic individuals that you wont find from doctors, psychologists, and books. Check out the hashtag #StimDancing on Instagram or TikTok and find some amazing autistic creators finding themselves through stim dancing.
Dont Speak Over Autistics
If you arent autistic, you dont know what its like to be autistic. It doesnt matter who you know has it or what education youve had. Its important to listen to autistic voices, thoughts and experiences when it comes to anything that pertains to autism. We tend to be experts on our own bodies and minds. This includes topics like ABA therapy, Autism Speaks, hiring #ActuallyAutistic actors, identity-first language, and many more. Nothing about us without us.
Autism Awareness Day & Acceptance Month 2021
Autism Awareness Month 2021
Every April we celebrate Autism Awareness Month, with World Autism Awareness Day sanctioned by the UN to be on April 2 every year. This year in particular there is a push to change the name to Autism Acceptance Month. The new name and designation of April to officially be recognized have been submitted to the federal government in an effort to bring more attention to Autism Spectrum Disorder and the needs of the people and families who are affected by it.
Although autism rates have been significantly increasing, there is still a long way to go to understand autism. As the name of the official diagnosis suggests, its a spectrum. There are so many unique and beautiful ways that autism presents itself. Some of the traits are more common and some less, but without greater awareness and acceptance of autism, the individuals and families affected will continue to be misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and misrepresented.
Autism Awareness Day 2021
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Autism Awareness Month Spotlights The Next Generation Of Researchers
In a symposium of early-career researchers and a seminar, scientists shared their work on the role of environmental factors in autism risk.
NIEHS marked Autism Awareness Month with a mini-symposium April 12 showcasing NIEHS-funded research, as well as a guest lecture April 28 that presented a new hypothesis about how microbes in the gut are linked to the disorder.
Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder , is a broad range of conditions affecting the way people communicate, behave, or interact with others. Once considered rare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that autism affects about 1 in 54 children in the United States.
There is a strong genetic contribution to autism, but we know a lot less about the nongenetic or environmental factors that might be at play, said Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Genes, Environment, and Health Branch.
During the mini-symposium, six early-stage researchers presented their efforts to study those environmental factors, describing a variety of approaches from epidemiology to laboratory-based studies of biological mechanisms that may be at play.
So How Do We Change This
Here, have a fewbullet-points.
- Change the name of it to World Autism Acceptance Month. Because you can be aware of something and still be an unhealthy influence over it. The negative advocates responsible for those DNR orders were very much aware of autism. We need acceptance now.
- If youre running an autism event, have autistic speakers.
- If you share stuff on social media, share from autistic writers.
- Buy things from autistic artists, musicians, craftspeople, authors and so on.
- Change the narrative from tragedy to difference, and talk about our strengths as well as our difficulties.
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Autism Acceptance & Awareness Month 2021
As a company that celebrates autism awareness and acceptance year-round, AngelSense wants to do our part to shed light on the wonderful world of autism and help families not only protect their loved ones with ASD, but also help them to support their children to realize greater independence than ever believed possible.
As the only Autism GPS Tracker & Safety Solution made for autism parents by autism parents, AngelSense is dedicated to providing people with autism maximum safety, independence, and peace of mind to their parents and caregivers. Get the lowest price of the year during Autism Acceptance Month + call or sign-up for an additional $20 Off!
Heres a series of articles that delve into what autism is, how it impacts those affected, specific concerns and challenges, autism safety products and solutions, and insight into what the future holds for autism.
Autism Awareness Month Facts & Statistics
Ways You Can Become Involved At The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention Autism Website
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the “CDC is committed to continuing to provide essential data on ASD, search for factors that put children at risk for ASD and possible causes, and develop resources that help identify children with ASD as early as possible.” You can visit the website and education yourself about the following:
- Early Intervention: From birth to 5 years, your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves. Track your childs development and act early if you have a concern.
- Vaccine Safety: Some people have had concerns that ASD might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD.
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An Alternative To Autism Awareness Is Autism Acceptance
In order to combat the idea that autism is the enemyand to celebrate the unique gifts of autistic peopleseveral autism advocacy groups created an alternative celebration called Autism Acceptance Month. According to the Autism Acceptance Month website:
“During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and autistic people.
“Autism Acceptance Month promotes acceptance and celebration of autistic people as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members making valuable contributions to our world. Autism is a natural variation of the human experience, and we can all create a world which values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds.
“In a nutshell, Autism Acceptance Month is about treating autistic people with respect, listening to what we have to say about ourselves, and making us welcome in the world.”
For many families, particularly those who benefit from or support programs at Autism Speaks, Autism Awareness Month is a very important observance. For those with a different “neurodiverse” perspective, however, Autism Acceptance may be a better choice.
Ways You Can Become Involved At The Autism Speaks Website
You can help advocate for inclusive health insurance coverage, vital research, early intervention and treatment, and life-long support and necessary services for individuals with autism and their families.
Light It Up Blue, annually observed on April 2 is dedicated to raising awareness of autism. Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, announced the launch of the inaugural Light It Up Blue campaign in 2010. This initiative is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month in the United States.
Iconic landmarks around the globe â including the Empire State Building in New York City and Willis Tower in Chicago along with the CN Tower in Toronto and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia â as well as airports, bridges, museums, concert halls, restaurants, hospitals, and retail stores, are among more than 100 structures in over 16 U.S. cities and nine countries around the world lit up in bright blue on the evening of April 1, 2010 â the first night of Autism Awareness Month in the United States and the eve of World Autism Awareness Day .
- Join Autism Speaks in celebrating and Light It Up Blue and #SpreadKindness
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Autism Awareness Month 2021
In April, the Office of Autism Research Coordination/NIMH joins with the United Nations and the U.S. government in recognizing the important role individuals on the autism spectrum play in our lives and our communities across the country and around the world. We join partner agencies and organizations in highlighting the needs of people on the autism spectrum and their families and supporting understanding, acceptance, inclusion, and empowerment of people on the autism spectrum. Throughout the month of April, we will be updating this page with the latest news and events, including OARCs two upcoming special events on and .
Why Autism Awareness Month Can Be Traumatising For Autistic People
It doesnt seem quiteright, does it? That a month designated for raising public knowledge of autismwould be so widely disliked by the autistic people it claims to support.
But just to clarify: thephrase widely disliked doesnt do justice to the feelings of some of thosenegatively impacted by Autism Awareness Month.
The autistic people Imreferring to dont dislike it. They dont even hate it.
They fear it.
For every autistic person like me who spends April in full advocacy mode, theres another autistic person who spends April doing their best to stay offline. Im in a fairly privileged position when it comes to Autism Awareness Month, having both the mental energy to talk about the issue, and the platform for my words to be heard . Meanwhile, other autistic people feel unable to express themselves without judgement, or are actively silenced by others.
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Autism Shouldn’t Be Celebrated
Today, youll be seeing a lot of blue: World monuments will be cast in blue lights, your co-workers will be wearing blue clothes, and companies will be hawking blue products. Why? April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, when advocacy group Autism Speaks celebrates its international Light It Up Blue Campaign. But while youll be seeing blue everywhere, Ill be seeing RED. The feel-good frippery of Light It Up Blue cloaks an often debilitating disorder in an air of festivity, with balloons, sparkling lights and pep rallies. The campaign implies autism is a party, rather than a crisis. For families living with autism, reality is far more sober, and their needs extend far beyond awareness.
Yet, Autism Speaks talks about World Autism Awareness Day as an event that celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism. Im all for honoring the achievements of people with autism, but the term unique talents and skills hardly connotes a global crisis. Thats the tone increasingly used in conversations about this disorder. Some advocates suggest autism is advantageous even a gift. Before backtracking on his comments last year, Jerry Seinfeld said he believed he was on the autism spectrum, casting it not as a disorder, but analternative mindset. It made me angrier than the Soup Nazi.
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Autism Awareness Month: Autism Facts & Statistics
An indication that Autism Awareness is so important, is that there are very few studies and reports regarding autism. The most recent exhaustive study was performed in 2016. There are smaller studies and research being done, but not to the same scale as the growth of the population of people affected.
The number of people with autism has grown exponentially over the past decades, to a staggering 1:54 kids now being diagnosed throughout the US based on the CDC 2016 study. The American Academy of Pediatrics parent-reported study shows a prevalence of 1 in 40. It is also known that autism is underdiagnosed, if corrected the numbers would be even higher.
Read our full post: Autism Awareness Month: Autism Statistics & Facts
Autism Awareness Month Diagnosis and Traits
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Ways To Support Autistics During Autism Awareness Month
Its Autism Awareness Month and many of us who are on the spectrum tend to dread this time of year. Our voices are often drowned out and we are gaslit by people who say they are advocates who are there to help us. Autism Awareness Month can often be very counterproductive to the autistic community. Awareness can turn into fear-mongering and scare tactics. However, there isnt anything scary about autism.
Autism is a spectrum and although each autistic has their challenges, we also have many gifts. Many autistics accept and embrace our neurodiversity and look for understanding and acceptance from society.
Here are seven ways you can support autistics during Autism Awareness Month .
Dont Support Autism Speaks
Early on, Autism Speaks awareness campaigns did a lot of harm to the autistic community. Autism Speaks is the leader in autism awareness, and when it was extremely important to spread positive messages about autism, Autism Speaks chose to spread fear campaigns, promoted eugenics, and caused widespread fear about vaccines. In a 2009 ad campaign I am autism they speak about how autism works faster than pediatrics AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined and goes further to claim that autism will make your marriage fail. In 2016 they stated that they had listened to the autistic community and had refocused their mission statement to remove the word cure from their language. However, Autism Speaks still uses funding for research and therapies that have harmed autistics. The puzzle piece symbol as well as the light up blue campaign they still use does not accurately portray the autistic community. Most autistics prefer to support Autistic Self Advocacy Network , Autistic Women & Non-Binary Network , and others.
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Where Does Autism Awareness Month Come From
In 1972, the Autistic Society established National Autistic Childrens Week as part of its efforts to educate people about autism spectrum disorders and how to support autistic people. This evolved into a month-long observance known as Autism Awareness Month, which became widely observed throughout the autism community.
In the 2010s, many individuals and organizations, most prominently the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, began to shift toward observing the month as Autism Acceptance Month. Use of this name was formally adopted by the Autistic Society in 2021. Along with the change in the name, many have called for autism advocacy campaigns to prioritize acceptance and to be refocused around the viewpoints and experiences of autistic people.
Stop Believing Autism Needs To Be Cured Or Is A Tragedy
Autism is part of many autistics identities. If you removed it, many of us dont know who we are without it. It is how we experience the world around us. To imply that we need to be cured implies that we are sick we are not. That doesnt mean autistics dont go through their own struggles, but our lives arent tragic and we dont need a cure. Learning I was autistic has made me feel accepted and apart of a community.
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Dont Use The Puzzle Piece Sign
The puzzle piece is problematic as it suggests that autistics are a mystery or a puzzle to be solved. The puzzle piece has also been widely used by Autism Speaks. Consider the rainbow infinity sign instead. Not all autistics are the same and the rainbow infinity symbol represents that neurodiversity in our community. The infinity sign is a positive symbol within the community.
Autism Speaks And Autism Awareness
In 2005, Autism Speaks was founded. Created and funded by the extremely wealthy and influential Bob and Suzanne Wright , the organization quickly became the major autism-related non-profit in the world. With their strong connections, the Wrights were able to create very high profile autism awareness programs, including:
- World Autism Awareness Day , adopted by the United Nations in 2007
- Light It Up Blue, an international effort to light iconic buildings in blue to raise awareness of autism
- The Power of One March, which takes place annually on April 2
Autism Speaks sells blue T-shirts, provides resources to groups interested in fundraising or running autism-related programs, and also promotes fundraising marches and events during the month of April. Institutions ranging from museums and zoos to libraries, schools, and even businesses run special events during that period.
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Autism Awareness Month Has Traditionally Been About Us And Without Us
The phrase nothing about us without us has existed in political circles for centuries, but since the 1990s it has found its way into disability advocacy too.
Why? Because its badlyneeded. And the autism community is not the only disability group to have spentdecades being spoken about ratherthan spoken to.
These days, the world is now waking up to the idea that autistic people should perhaps be consulted when it comes to autism issues. I speak at an increasing number of events where 100% of the speakers are autistic.
However, the decades of autistic people being omitted from the discussion has left the world with a lot of catching up to do. Traditions that were previously seen as being respectful to autistic people are slowly being turned on their head, as the world comes to realise that the majority of autistic people opposed them all along.
Its difficult to discuss nothing about us without us without coming across as condemning non-autistic parent advocates in general, many of whom are the autistic communitys strongest allies.
Others, however, areautistic peoples biggest obstaclesto worldwide autism acceptance, based on the way they choose to talk abouttheir children.
It comes from repeatedly beingtold youre not worth listening to because youre not like my child whenyoure thirty years old and obviously not a child.
It comes from being toldyou can speak so youre not really autistic,when youre actually a nonverbal autistic advocate typing on a keyboard.