April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. However, April is widley celebrated as Autism Awareness month. Because of this, we have listed our top five ways you can celebrate and educate the wider public this Autism Awareness Day.
1.Encourage your child’s school to share information about Autism.
Many schools and educators have limited knowledge of positive Autism traits. Too often, the focus in our education system has been on problematic students or students not fitting the mainstream education system. Because of this, Autistic students who are thriving in school or are well-behaved are taken for granted. Or not acknowledged for their unique abilities or talents. It can be problematic and an incubator for a negative and non-accepting environment for Autisitc students.
This Autism Awareness Day and month we can make an effort to educate our schools on the many positive traits of being Autistic. And it can be great to not be like everyone else. We have made a fun, vibrant sharable poster that lists some interesting facts about Autism. You or child might like to share with their school or class to open up the conversation about Autism. You can download this poster at the end of this article.
2. Listen to Actually Autistic voices
Did you know there are thousands of Autistic Advocates who are sharing their insights into Autism, accessibility and lived experience with the world. They are Autistic kids, Adults, Parents and Business owners. You may already know about them,but have not been aware they are Autistic.
Share information with friends and family. We have listed some of our favourites Advocates you can share as a family.
Summer Farrelly – Summer Farrelly is 15-year-old Autistic Advocate, Public speaker, Inclusion & Education Consultant, Artist, Chicken Whisperer, Animal Assisted Learning Program Creator & Facilitator.
Eliza Brearley – Eliza is a 23-year-old actor, model, singer, swimmer and now, YouTuber, as host of Australia’s first autism therapy YouTube channel, Planet Jasi.
Autism from the Inside – Paul Micallef shares some great education video via You tube.
Living on the Spectrum – Of course us. Sharing our free Autism directory and neurodiversity hub.
3. Be Inclusive.
Everyone wants to be included and it can feel lonely and even isolating when Autistic people are not included in celebrations or even the conversation. Remember Autistic people are just like everyone else.
Ask them to join in, even if you think they may not want to. Sometimes it just feels great to be asked and included. If you do ask an Autistic person to be part of the celebration, ensure you ask if they have any accessibility needs. You may find that they may need to wear headphones in a noisy place or may wish to communicate nonverbally. Again, just being asked and included can ease anxiety and stress for an Autistic person.
4. Be a role model
You know that saying, Monkey see, monkey do? Well, our kids are always watching. Make sure you are respectful when talking about Autism. Make an effort to talk about the positive qualities of Autism to others. Many people are only aware of the negative and the struggles associated with an Autism diagnosis. Be an advocate and ally and learn about all the wonderful things that Autism can be.
We also know that being Autistic can sometimes be difficult and stressful, and that is ok. It is not about dismissing the difficulties tough times. It’s about balance and ensuring we celebrate the wins and wonderful things about the people around us. It is about future generations accepting Autism and being respectful and inclusive.
5. Learn about Autism.
This April you may see a sea of blue and the puzzle piece everywhere. Make it a priority to learn the history and meaning of a symbol and Autism before sharing. Autistic people prefer to use the Infinity symbol to celebrate and represent Autism. While everyone is different, it would be respectful to research meanings before resharing.
The same goes for language. Autistic seem to be the preference many Autistic people. That’s not to say that “person with Autism” is wrong” It is just the majority prefer Autistic. If you are resharing or talking to an Autistic person, make sure you asked them what their preference is.
And as always do further research about the origins of certain Autistic symbols and language.
And finally, don’t forget to have fun and celebrate with the amazing diverse individuals who share the planet with us. Remember, Autistic is,