An Intro to Autism Acceptance Month: Neurodiversity with Dr. Cre
It is April, which means that you might be seeing all sorts of autism-related information pop up, from this Autism Acceptance post, to “light it up blue,” to puzzle pieces. What does it all mean?
Autism, and the stigma surrounding a diagnosis, has a long, complicated history. I will share more about that history in future blogs, as I think it is really interesting to understand the culture around autism and the importance of neurodiversity. But you’re here to better understand Autism Acceptance month, so I’ll stay focused for a few more paragraphs~
Awareness of any phenomenon is often the first step toward increasing understanding and resources relating to that phenomenon, as well as decreasing stigma. This was originally where April as Autism Awareness month began. Unfortunately, there is a lot of connection between the “Autism Awareness” label and the “puzzle piece” representation of autism. The puzzle piece in particular, for most autistic folx, represents this ableist and harmful idea that autism is something that needs to be solved for.
As self-advocates and allies have expressed, moving toward a model of “neurodiversity” is a much more accepting, inclusive, human-rights-considering, and forward-thinking approach. The infinity symbol, with its rainbow hues, represents people across the full spectrum of neurodiversity (e.g., including “neurotypical” individuals, if typicality really exists ;) ). The move toward Autism Acceptance, and away from Autism Awareness, represents a really important paradigm shift for how all of us can think about autism and neurodiversity in our families, at work, within schools, and any other settings we may encounter.
So keep an eye out this month for self-advocates sharing their experiences (see an earlier social media post for some places to start!), or head to your local library to check out a book written by an autistic author (just a selection listed here!)
Asperger’s on the Inside by Michelle Vines
The Secret Life of a Black Aspie: A memoir by Anand Prahlad
I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder by Sarah Kurchak
Funny, You Don't Look Autistic by Michael McCreary
The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide by Yenn Purkis and Tanya Masterman