April has widely been known as Autism Awareness Month in the U.S., as a way to empower people living with autism, along with their families.
But just last month, some in the autism community called to shift the language -- “to match the growing need for acceptance within the community,” according to one news release from the Autism Society of America.
“While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life,” said Christopher Banks, the group’s president and CEO. “As many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.”
Advocates have a long-standing history of using the term “acceptance” as a means of more fully integrating those with autism.
The ASA estimates that 1 in every 54 Americans lives with autism.
They go on to point out that there has never been a formal designation for the month, regardless of terminology.
The Autism Society of America is “leading a significant effort” for the federal government to officially designate April as “Autism Acceptance Month.”
And this didn’t start just in early 2021.