For Autism Awareness Month, we challenge you to embrace neurodiversity and amplify Autistic voices.
What is the Neurodiversity Perspective?
Moving away from the traditional medical model of Autism which views psychological characteristics and developmental differences as deficits and pathologies, the neurodiversity perspective defines Autism as a difference in the way the world is experienced. Aligned with the social model of disability, the neurodiversity perspective embraces developmental differences as a variation of the norm; resulting disablement is largely a result of the mismatch between an individual’s needs and inaccessible environments.
What Does the Autistic Community Say?
Many autistic adults embrace the neurodiversity perspective seeking acceptance and inclusion rather than a cure.
- While each individual is unique, and it is always polite to ask about language preferences, the larger Autistic community prefers identity-first language; autistic individual rather than person with autism.
- Historic symbols of Autism such as the puzzle piece which may connote incompleteness are hurtful
- Messaging of “light it up blue” which perpetuates the stereotype that autism is more common in boys is harmful
- Events such as walks for a cure and autism events that center non-autistic speakers lends to a sense of otherness and isolation
Ways YOU can Support the Autistic Community:
- Use identity-first language (Autistic person)
- Follow autistic influencers and advocates
- Feature the works of autistic authors, artists, and creators
- Shift the conversation away from finding a cure to using support language. Use words such as Inclusion and acceptance in your April advocacy for Autism.
- Consider celebrating Autism Pride Day (June 18th)
Follow These Autistic Advocates, Creators, and Influencers on Instagram
Find Additional Resources in the NAPA Blog: