Autism Acceptance: The Next Step

Thanks to the rising awareness of ASD, autism acceptance is spreading. Countless individuals are sharing their experiences and provide a better understanding of what it’s like to live life with autism. 

There have been significant changes in how the mainstream culture treats this disorder and the people who have it. Additionally, more people either know about ASD or know someone who has it.

Online avenues like social media, support groups, and blogs have given a platform for those with autism, parents, and educators to raise awareness and acceptance.

However, the work is far from complete. 

While awareness has brought positive changes, including new paths for education and socialization, the next step is advancing autism acceptance.

But how?

Autism Acceptance And Action

In his article about awareness versus acceptance, Andrew E. Harris, MEd, said: “acceptance requires changing your behavior based on what you have become aware of.”

The most significant way regular people can promote ASD acceptance is by being an advocate. People can help by practicing understanding, empathy, kindness, and supporting acceptance.

For example, rather than feeling disrespected by a lack of eye contact, understand that it can make some people with ASD feel uncomfortable.

Greater recognition of ASD has also brought clearer classification for Asperger syndrome (AS) and high functioning autism (HFA). 

That, along with the internet, has led to the emergence of autistic culture.

Autistic Culture

The basis of the autistic culture is a belief that autism is “a unique way of being and not a disorder to be cured.”

Autistic communities are advantageous for those looking for support and a means of communicating with people who are like them. 

These groups, online and in the real world, have been paramount for creating an identity for those with autism.

As communication is one of the main difficulties, those with ASD have, the internet has become a valuable resource.  

Chat rooms, forums, and websites make it easier to move past the communication problems non-verbal cues and emotional sharing can cause.

Autism awareness and the rise of autistic culture has led to the autistic rights movement. This portion of the ASD community views autism as a cultural identity rather than a medical condition.

This movement has incited some controversy, but it also gives insight into other aspects that play a role in how people view ASD.

Raising Autism Acceptance Through Understanding

Through an appreciation of its sociological and cultural aspects, autistic culture can help people see those with ASD as individuals. 

Cultural factors play a big part in an individual’s willingness (and ability) to seek help. These variables could include:

  • Language
  • Geographic location
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Economic status
  • Gender
  • Beliefs and values
  • Family structure
  • Ethnicity

Parents can connect to their children’s interests by looking at elements of the cultural identity of ASD instead of more than a medical label.

It can assist doctors and therapists in looking for suitable treatment plans for patients. And educators can create more adaptive lessons that embrace autistic students’ unique strengths.

A Voice For Autism Acceptance

The internet is significantly improving the lives of those affected by ASD. It offers a place where everyone can speak, listen, and find help. 

That, along with the hard work of countless organizations and individuals, is changing autism in the mainstream. 

At some point, awareness will reach its limits. Already, many people–those with and without ASD–are calling for the next step.

The best way to promote autism acceptance is by actively practicing it.  You can make a difference for a child, a coworker, or a friend.