World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated every year on April 2nd, which kicks off Autism Acceptance Month. This campaign is part of a shift from a focus on autism awareness to promoting acceptance and inclusion for people who are on the autism spectrum. As the month draws to a close, we can reflect on the history and value of occasions focused on celebrating people with autism as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members.
World Autism Awareness Day was established with a UN Resolution in 2008, originally dedicated to promoting awareness of autism within the member states. Every year, the UN designates a theme – this year it was “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation.” There are various events that celebrate the day, with monuments around the world turning blue in honor of the occasion.
In order to acknowledge that autism is part of the human experience and to celebrate the contributions to society of people on the autism spectrum, the Autism Self Advocacy Network chose to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month instead in 2011. Major corporations, such as Apple, have embraced this message and now participate in the campaign.
Currently, the CDC estimates that 1% of the world may be impacted by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is crucial to continue to work towards being a more accepting society – without acceptance, people with autism won’t be able to reach their full potential and will continue to face stigma in their daily lives. As an organization that serves people with disabilities, we are proud to recognize that we are all people with ability!
Below are some resources so you can learn more on the subject: