Beyond Awareness: Autism Acceptance Day, Month, and Year
Image created by Amy Gould Caraballo. Used with permission.
I made a conscious decision to just let myself be cranky about April and Autism Awareness this year, but others are taking the opportunity to try to get people to move beyond awareness.
Paula C. Durbin-Westby has spearheaded an effort to make April 2 Autism Acceptance Day, April Autism Acceptance Month, and this year International Autism Acceptance Year.
Paula sends this message:
Acceptance means accepting yourself as you are, even in the face of persistent attempts throughout your life to get you to be what you are not. Especially in the face of persistent attempts throughout your life to get you to be what you are not. The best you can be is Autistic. Let me explain. “The best you can be is Autistic” means that you are at your best when you are being fully who you are, able to express yourself and move through the world in ways that are right for you, comfortable for your body. “The best you can be is Autistic” does not imply impairments, “less than,” “can only do so much.” On the contrary, it means that you are who you are- your pervasive Autistic self (which actually includes those parts that observers might think are "typical" just because they can't see anything that looks unusual to them), and that encompasses all of who you are, not just the parts that have been “permitted,” and not just the stuff that whatever the DSM of the moment says are your deficits.
You have the right, or should, to grow in ways that are good for you, that you think are good for you. You have the right to make changes in your life that you think are the correct ones for you.