It's Time to Take Back April! Autism Acceptance Day and Month. 2017: Two events- April 1-15 going on NOW at https://www.facebook.com/events/228936064515212/, and second half of the month event here: and https://www.facebook.com/events/588631584829848/ ACTUAL ACCEPTANCE, not "tolerance," not "I accept you but not your autism." The intention is *radical* acceptance, not ABA, not compliance training, not "fitting in," unless we make that decision on our own.
It’s the beginning of Autism Acceptance Month. (Autism Acceptance Day is officially April 2).
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
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. If stimming helps you get through the
day, you have the right to do it. If making eye contact is a goal of
yours, go for it! You get to choose. When others choose for you
(in the case of children or in some support roles) let it be not in the
vain attempt to “normalize” you, but to help you be your best, Autistic,
self. This is no different (speaking in my parental role) from helping any child
learn and grow to be the best person possible. This is no different
(speaking as an Autistic adult and former Autistic child) from learning
at a pace that is both challenging and not way outside the “envelope” of
what works for you.
Acceptance Day is for: Autistic people reading this blog, Autistic
people who can’t read this blog, Autistic people who will never read
this blog but whose lives might be impacted by those around them
learning to embrace and cherish all of who they are. Autism
Acceptance Day is not limited to acceptance for the “high end” (whatever
that is) of the spectrum. Autism Acceptance Day is for the Autistic
children in the JRC (and let’s not forget other children who are there
as well). Autism Acceptance Day is for the Autistic adults (and others
with disabilities) in institutions and for their family members who are
working for the change that will allow them to live in their communities
with appropriate supports. Since it always gets brought up, Autism
Acceptance Day is for adults who wear diapers, don’t speak, and smear
feces. Autism Acceptance Day is for the children who get put into
restraint and seclusion when school should be safe. Autism Acceptance
Day is for the kids who get bullied; and it’s for the toddlers whose
parents are already trying to prevent them from showing any Autistic
characteristics. Autism Acceptance Day is for kids who spend 25-40 hours
a week doing ABA instead of getting some time off to be kids. Autism Acceptance Day is even for Autistics who don’t want to be Autistic (they need feel no pressure to celebrate the day!)
Acceptance Day is for the Autistic activists who work hard to bring a
gleam of understanding to beleaguered parents who have heard one too
many versions of the “horrible news” story. Autism Acceptance Day is for
Autistic parents who are raising our children (Autistic or not) in the
face of other people's doubts and our challenges. Autism Acceptance Day
is for our non-autistic allies, remembering that we and we alone get to determine who our allies are ,
who support our right to be the Autistic people we actually are and
always will be. Autism Acceptance Day is for non-autistic parents who
try to understand their children, even if they don't really, and strive
to make the world a better, accepting, place for them.
Acceptance Day is for Autistic children, and Autistic adults, who might
be: sad, afraid, confused, worried, anxious, happy, ecstatic, joyous,
and every other condition that is part and parcel of the life and world
of any human being.
Happy Autism Acceptance Day!
(April 2 for Autism Acceptance Day, the entire month for Autism Acceptance Month)
April 4, 2013- while desperately looking for my W-2 form, I found the original notes for "To My Beloved Community..." On the back of an envelope, of course!