Autism Acceptance – Moving Beyond Awareness
What is Autism Acceptance?
Autism acceptance means embracing and valuing individuals with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis (ASD) instead of being afraid of them, having low expectations, or trying to find a way to make
an ASD person “normal”.
Acceptance is not passive tolerance
Acceptance is an action
“Does acceptance mean no therapies,
no education, no intervention,
just letting my kid stay where they are forever?
Isn’t acceptance passive?”
No! Acceptance is not passive.
Acceptance is action.
Why should I care about
1 in 68 people are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD). The numbers suggest that you will be related to, know of, go to school with, or work with an ASD person.
Autism acceptance means you want them around and are aware of how to interact with a person diagnosed with ASD.
Acceptance means doing everything you can so that your ASD child will grow up into the best adult they can be, supporting your ASD friends in a world that is not designed for them, and working to make our world a better, more inclusive, safer place for ASD people of all ages and abilities.
Why Autism Awareness is Not Enough
Awareness does not bring inclusion, support, or appreciation for neurodiversity.
Some autism awareness campaigns focus attention on the problems and struggles of individuals and families affected by autism.
Acceptance, on the other hand, is the first step to building true understanding and inclusion.
It’s a statement that individuals with autism are and should be recognized as valuable members of our families, schools, workplaces, faith communities, and neighborhoods.
Acceptance builds community support.
Acceptance encourages the public to hear the voices of self-advocates.
Acceptance reinforces that not only do ASD individuals have equal rights, but they are equal in worth and have just as much value to society as any other member.
What does Autism Acceptance Look Like?
Acceptance takes many different forms.
The following are some examples of practicing acceptance. Autism acceptance can and should be practiced everywhere.
Helping your child or your friend learn to use their AAC device
Fighting stigma and stereotypes about autism
Hiring an individual diagnosed with ASD to work for you at the same wage as a neurotypical individual.
Snapping your fingers instead of clapping for applause so your ASD coworker isn’t hurt by the noise.
Not just tolerating, but appreciating and understanding individuals diagnosed with Autism for who they are.
Purposefully including individuals diagnosed with Autism at home, school, work, and the community.
Providing, but not forcing, resources for therapies, mental health support, and skill-building so that everyone reaches their highest potential.
Accepting autism-related ‘quirks’, including stims (hand flapping, tapping, etc) rather than discouraging or disallowing them.
Creating sensory friendly spaces and experiences.
Respecting an individuals diagnosed with Autism personal preferences regarding language and communication, including his/her preference for how he/she wishes to be referred to (as a “person with autism” versus an “autistic person”).
Rejecting the idea that individuals diagnosed with Autism need to be cured, fixed, or isolated.
Rejecting messages and stereotypes of fear, hate, pity, exclusion, danger, disease, and misery of autism.
Becoming aware of myths and misconceptions about autism – and then becoming educated about the facts.