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#CelebratingDifferences During Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month! Advocacy organizations throughout America are once again encouraging social media users to share powerful stories, useful information, and helpful resources by using the #CelebratingDifferences hashtag on social media.  

AutismSociety.org writes on their website – “Every day, we work to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community to live fully. We believe that acceptance is creating a world where everyone in the Autism community is connected to the support they need when they need it. And by everyone, we mean every unique individual: the implacable, inimitable, and irreplaceable you.”

Last year, we reported that the Autism Society of America wrote letters to federal lawmakers asking them to change verbiage from ‘Autism Awareness’ to ‘Autism Acceptance’ in an effort to make people not just aware – but accepting of people in the community. This year, several governors have proclaimed April as Autism Acceptance Month. FedcapGroup.org, an organization that states they are committed to creating opportunities and improving the lives of people who face barriers stated, “The increased prevalence of autism, and a growing understanding of what it is and what it is not, underscores the urgent need for education, equitable access to diagnostic evaluations, and early interventions that have a significant impact on lifelong outcomes.”

The website states that those on the autism spectrum (as well as other disabilities) need greater access to employment. According to a February 2022 report from the U.S. Department of Labor (Office of Disability Employment Policy), the unemployment rate in America for those who experience a disability is currently at 9.7% for those between the ages of 16 and 64. The same research found just 4% of those who don’t experience a disability are unemployed. Even though autism is one of many disabilities included in this statistic, it is time for employers to understand the many benefits of hiring people who experience a disability and the drawbacks of exclusion. 

A 2020 report from the Center of Financial Planning found that those who experience a disability are often extremely loyal to the organization they work for which leads to overall better job satisfaction and less money and time spent on hiring and training which is beneficial for any organization. 

Autism In the Media

Autism can look very different from one person to another – and the ‘autism spectrum’ that people often refer to isn’t exactly what people think. While some people might think of a spectrum as ‘more’ or ‘less’ of something – it is more about levels of fixations, speech difficulties, noise sensitivity, social skills, anxiety, posture, eye contact, tics and fidgets, stimming, perception, and other traits. These traits can change from one day to another, or even throughout the same day, depending on the situation an individual is in. 

One way to better understand people who are on the autism spectrum is to consume TV shows, movies and other forms of media that feature characters and performers who are on the autism spectrum. Here are some TV shows and films featuring characters and performers with autism that you can watch today: 

    • The Good Doctor (Medical Drama on ABC) 
    • Hero Elementary (Animation on PBS & YouTube)
    • On The Spectrum (Comedy-Drama on HBO Max)
    • Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Comedy on Hulu and Amazon Prime)
    • Love On the Spectrum (Reality Dating Show on Netflix)
    • Atypical (Comedy-Drama on Netflix)
    • The Reason I Jump (Documentary on Netflix) 

Movies and TV shows that showcase accurately what it is like to be on the autism spectrum will allow people who are autistic to see characters and performers who look, and act like them. These pieces of media can also be helpful to eliminate misconceptions about autism. 

You can recognize Autism Acceptance Month this April (and every day of the year) by using #CelebratingDifferences, #AutismAcceptanceMonth, and #AutismAcceptance in autism-related posts. You can also search for content using those hashtags. To learn more about this topic – check out our blog post from last year HERE.

 

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