Key Assets Kentucky is joining many other national and local organizations in the shift from Autism Awareness to Autism Acceptance Month.
The autism community is calling for this shift in terminology to foster acceptance to ignite change through improved support and opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care, and comprehensive long-term services.
Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America says, “words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life, as many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.”
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has been framing April as Autism Acceptance Month since 2011, stating “Acceptance of autism as a natural condition in the human experience is necessary for real dialogue to occur.” It is celebrated by autistic people, their loved ones, and their allies all around the world.
So, what is important to understand about acceptance? Wikia.org provides helpful information about Autism Acceptance Month from the autistic individual’s perspective.
Autism Acceptance is based on several central tenets.
The rainbow infinity sign represents neurodiversity.
Neurodiversity is the idea that autistic people add diversity to the world, and that disability is part of the human experience. Neurodiversity advocates oppose the idea of an Autism “cure,” and want to focus more on helpful and respectful therapies. They believe that Autistic people should be accepted in society.
Nothing About Us Without Us
The disability rights movement holds that disabled people ought to be included in general conversations that are about them. Autism Acceptance Month was started for and by Autistic people. Non-autistic allies celebrate the month at their sides.
Changing Public Perceptions
Acceptance means not only understanding Autism but respecting Autistic people and not trying to change fundamental aspects of who they are.
Acceptance includes education and inclusion. Non-Autistic people are encouraged to learn about Autism and accept differences in the people around them.
At Key Assets, our primary goal in serving any individual is to support them in realizing their full potential. All of us have unique strengths, abilities, and gifts. Our community benefits when ALL of us are provided the opportunity to be involved, to be included.
We recognize there are systemic barriers – in our schools, workplace, and communities – to the inclusivity of individuals with disabilities. We want to do our part in being an ally for autistic individuals so there is equal opportunity for all.