Acceptance, not just Awareness

It’s April 2nd, and by now, you may have seen promotional material branding this day as Autism Awareness Day, or this month as Autism Awareness Month.

Autism Awareness was originally branded by the company Autism Speaks, with the purpose of spreading awareness. This went over without question for years, understandably so, because there was a time when Autism was a relatively unknown neurotype. But we’re aware now, and it’s time for acceptance instead.

Many Autism-positive organizations, especially the Autism Self-Advocacy Network, have been asking for years to rebrand Autism Awareness Month as Autism Acceptance Month. (You can read more about that here: or here:

Besides the obvious need for acceptance, another huge reason to drop “Autism Awareness” is because of its ties to Autism Speaks. I won’t get into all the reasons to drop support for Autism Speaks, as this information has been made available by others, at least a thousand times over. So, instead of speaking over others who have already done this work, I’ll provide a few links for anyone who has not heard yet.

(The above sources are written and/or published by people who actually have Autism, not just by researchers who look at Autism from a distance.)

To learn even more about the real experiences and needs of Autistic individuals, try checking the #ActuallyAutistic tag on social media.

If all of this is new information to you, and you’re looking for organizations to support instead of Autism Speaks, please consider one of the following:

The Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)

The Autistic Women Network (AWN)

And one more thing:

If you are part of a group or in a situation where you are being encouraged to decorate your place of business in blue this month, or to wear blue for the “Light it up Blue for Autism” campaign, please know that Light it up Blue is also connected to Autism Speaks, and try Red Instead. (I recommend taking a look through the #RedInstead, #LightItUpRed, and #WalkInRed tags on social media.)

To read a bit about how the Red Instead movement got started, check this out:

Thank you for reading, and remember this April to not just be “aware” of Autistic people, but to learn about and from them, and accept them for who they are.

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