April is National Autism Awareness Month. As we know, Autism is a developmental disability that affects how people experience the world around them. It is a disorder characterized by behavioral and communicational affections that impact the ability for an individual to navigate through social interactions and can also cause restricted and/ or repetitive behavior. Although the first historical appearance of the word “Autism” was made in 1911, Autism has always existed.
Autistic people are born autistic and will be on the spectrum their whole lives. Although this can be diagnosed by a doctor, you can still be autistic and not have a formal diagnosis. Due to many myths that surround autism, it is harder for autistic adults, girls, and people of color to get a correct diagnosis. Anyone, regardless of their age, gender, or race can be autistic.
One of the groups that are trying to educate others on autistic individuals is Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). Their mission seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement in regards to autism. The organization believes the main goal of advocacy for autism should be a world in which autistic people can enjoy their equal access, rights, and opportunities no matter where they are. They want to empower autistic people to take control of their own lives and make sure their own voices are heard in the national conversations that are occurring about them. Nothing About Us, Without Us!
There is no one way that anyone can be autistic. Some people can verbally speak while others communicate in different ways. Some autistic people have a dual diagnosis and also have an intellectual disability while others do not. Others do not need much help in their day-to-day lives and some need a lot of hands on help. All of them are autistic and will experience their autism differently, but they all deserve to be accepted no matter where they fall on the spectrum.
To see any events happening in the region checkout Philadelphia Autism Project’s event calendar for the month of April to see a variety of virtual events that will be taking place in celebration of Autism Awareness Month.