The month of April is Autism Awareness Month! This year’s theme focuses on highlighting the contributions of people with autism in their homes, at work, in the field of arts, and policymaking. Let’s celebrate their accomplishments and take this as an opportunity to promote acceptance and advocate for the rights and needs of all individuals.
It’s also important to acknowledge the struggles and challenges people with autism and their families go through daily. By gaining a better understanding of their needs, we can provide a better support system and inclusive environment.
Here are four ways on how you can show your support during Autism Awareness Month:
Learn and Educate
Autism is a developmental disability that affects how we experience the world around us. Autistic people are an important part of the world. Autism is a normal part of life, and makes us who we are. Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
The first step in promoting positive change is through education. Let’s take the time to learn about autism from diverse sources to promote a welcoming and accepting society. It is important to recognize that each person's experience is unique and understand the challenges that individuals on the autism spectrum may face. Check out this library of resources.
Listen to the needs of autistic individuals
“Nothing About Us Without Us” means that autistic people need to be involved whenever autism is discussed. Being a true advocate means recognizing the importance of centering the conversation around the voices and experiences of people with autism. As a community, it's important to come together to support and empower autistic individuals and ensure they are involved in the decision-making process.
Individuals with autism often experience sensory sensitivities that make certain situations or places overwhelming for them. To foster an inclusive environment, it's important to accommodate their needs and create sensory-friendly spaces that makes them feel comfortable and enable them to be themselves.
Support autism-led organizations
Support organizations led by people on the autism spectrum or working alongside them to understand and advocate for the rights and needs of people with autism. These organizations ensure that they hear and value the voices of autistic individuals. Get involved and take action!
- Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) - The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement about autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities.
- Autistics United Canada - It is a grassroots organization by and for Autistic people in what is colonially known as Canada.
- Autism Society Alberta - An organization within the autism community connecting to its provincial members through regional partners and networking with agencies and associations throughout the province and nationwide.