Today is Autistic Pride Day. It was initiated by the Aspies for Freedom group 10 years ago as a way to celebrate neurodiversity. There are multiple events happening around the world to recognise the inherent potential in all people, especially those on the spectrum.
Bristol Autism Support is organising a city-wide chalk art festival. Those of you in Bristol, now or after work, grab some sidewalk chalks, find a good spot and draw a great big picture! It doesn’t have to be autism-specific, it just needs to be in the spirit of the movement.
This day is about being proud of being different, embracing uniqueness and defying what society tells you you are supposed to be. Today is about learning, about shifting views of Autism from “disease” to “difference”; from “strange” to “interesting”; from ignorance to awareness; from stigma to acceptance.
ARGH (Autism Rights Group Highland) is organising arts and crafts activities, speakers, information and a picnic Bellfield Park, Inverness.
There is usually a theme, in 2005 the first ever was “Acceptance not cure”, in 2010 it was “Perspectives, not fear” and in 2011 it was “Recognize, Respect, Include” .
Here are 5 things you can do today to celebrate:
1. Find out what your Council or the community is doing to aid awareness today and go along – Learn 1 new thing about Autism. Make conversation with someone there and ask questions, integrate and have fun.
2. Read one story on this blog – read one story anywhere on the Internet and learn 1 thing about Autism. The information is right there, all you have to do is take 5 minutes to watch, read, listen to something about Autism.
3. If you know someone with Autism, go see them. If you know what they like, take them something.
4. If your kid goes to school with someone on the Spectrum, talk them about Autism. Don’t hide it, Autism is not something to be scared of, in fact, the less you know about Autism the more likely you are to trigger their sensitivity.
5. Get a book for that bus ride, the tube, before bed, or a lazy summer day. Books like “A Father’s Journey into the Lost History of Autism” by Paul Collins, “Delightfully Different” by D. S. Walker, “Remember Dippy” by Shirley Reva Vernick, “Screaming Quietly (Gravel Road)” by Evan Jacobs, “The Society of Sylphs” by Lea M. Hill.
Neurodivertials: Be proud you are different, be proud for raising someone who is out of the ‘ordinary’. Be proud of who you are no matter what society tells you you’re supposed to be.
Neurotypicals: Pity and denial doesn’t help; don’t stare at our kids, don’t “Aww” at us, learn more about us, give our kids the chance they deserve. Help us make Autism a conversation rather than a taboo.