April as Autism Acceptance Month

April 2021 Satire Issue

Jess Oakley, Supremely Autistic Super Villain

As we are in the fourth month of the year, we are celebrating the lives and contributions of autistic people. April is Autism Acceptance month, and it’s important to me that we celebrate autistic people this month. April is Autism Acceptance month in response to April originally being Autism Awareness month, which is run and supported by the organization Autism Speaks. Many autistic individuals don’t support Autism Speaks as they are trying to find a cure for autism and don’t actually have the interests of autistic people in mind. 

The Autism Society of America, a grassroots effort to spread awareness of autism and it’s symptoms, as well as efforts to make the world a more accessible place for people on the spectrum. In 2021, the campaign is called “#Celebrate Differences,” and focuses on providing information and resources about autism as well as accounts from actually autistic people to help understand their worlds a bit better. 

I talked to some of my friends about what they wish people knew about autism and autistic people. Ryan said that he wished autistic traits weren’t read as being a “jerk” or that our struggles make us less understanding of others. Part of the symptoms of autism include the inability to understand certain types of speech, like figurative speech, and it makes it difficult sometimes to express ourselves in accurate ways. Another symptom of autism is difficulty with empathy, which Ryan says doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings, just that we struggle a bit more to understand others. In no way does it mean we don’t care about other people, just that sometimes it is hard for us to understand the motivations or actions of others. 

Bee talked about how stereotypes of autistic people can actually be really harmful to the community. If you assume every autistic person is the same stereotype of Sheldon Cooper from “Big Bang Theory,” you are erasing the fact that autism is a spectrum that each individual experiences differently. They also spoke about how a lot of easily mocked attributes of autism are not actually spoken about as autistic traits. Like special interests or stimming, which is when a person moves around to self regulate themselves. 

In April, I hope you all show up for autistic people by trying your best to support us and learn about our experiences. Going forward I hope we can create a world that is safe and accessible for all people, including those blessed with differently functioning brains.

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