As we wrap April and Autism Awareness Month,  it seems like this month everywhere you turned, there were blue puzzle pieces and infinity ribbons to show support for people living with autism. But is awareness really enough?  To truly help those living with autism, we must move towards autism acceptance. This means viewing autism as a difference rather than a disorder and working to make inclusion the norm. Only then will people with autism be able to reach their full potential.

What is autism?

Like many neurological disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often misunderstood. ASD affects how people process information and can impair communication skills, social interaction, and creative thinking. But while public awareness of autism has increased significantly in recent years, much work remains to be done in terms of acceptance and understanding of those who live with the condition. This blog post discusses the need for autism acceptance and why it is essential for both individuals living with autism and society as a whole. We will talk about why raising awareness is important, but it is not enough on its own. We need to look to autism acceptance if we want to make a real difference in the lives of people with autism.

What does autism acceptance look like?

When most people think about autism, the first thing that comes to mind is awareness. We need to be aware of autism and its effects on individuals and families. However, awareness is not enough. In fact, it may even be harmful in some cases. We need to move beyond awareness and towards acceptance. Only then will we be able to make real progress in supporting autistic individuals and their families.

Autism acceptance is about understanding and respecting autistic people. It’s about recognizing that autism is a different way of being, not a disorder or a disease. Autism acceptance is about embracing neurodiversity and supporting autistic people in living their best lives.

Why isn’t autism awareness enough?

For starters, it means seeing people with autism as whole individuals with unique strengths and quirks, rather than just viewing them as “autistic.” It also includes recognizing that autism is a natural and normal part of human diversity. And, perhaps most importantly, it entails creating a world that is inclusive and supportive of autistic people.

Next, autism awareness often relies on stereotypes and myths about autism. These stereotypes can be harmful to autistic people and their families.  Autistic people are often targeted for their portrayal in popular culture. They’re depicted as having no emotions or feeling, which can be harmful to them and those closest to them because it disconnects with what they experience on an everyday basis.

Finally, autism awareness often fails to include autistic people themselves. Autism acceptance, on the other hand, relies on the voices of autistic people and their families. There are many families and parents who share their journeys one social media and in books.  There are also many autistic people who share their stories online.

Moving Beyond Awareness Toward Autism Acceptance

If we want to make a real difference in the lives of autistic people, we need to move beyond autism awareness and towards autism acceptance. We must move away from awareness and towards acceptance if we want to make true progress in supporting people with autism.  This requires viewing autism as a difference rather than a disorder and working to make inclusion the norm. Let’s work together to make inclusion the norm and create a society that values difference. Only then will we be able to create a world that is truly inclusive and supportive of all autistic people.

So let’s pledge to do more than just raise autism awareness. Let’s commit to autism acceptance all year round!