Autism Awareness

Hello everyone! I want to write a quick reminder for everyone that Autism Awareness Day is on 2nd April, Autism Awareness Week runs from 29th March to 4th April, and the whole month of April is Autism Awareness Month!

Whether you want to do something for just one day on the 2nd or raise awareness for the entire month, I really want to encourage more people to get involved. I thought I’d list a few suggestions and resources to make it easier to see your options! (quick reminder that I’m not familiar with resources outside of the UK/Scotland, so please look into local resources if these do not apply to you!)

Charities and organisations to look into

National Autistic Society:

  • Based in the UK.
  • They support autistic adults and children and have promoted campaigns which have resulted in teacher training now including autism.
  • They are also pushing for shorter waiting lists for autistic people waiting on a diagnosis.
  • They are running plenty of events for the whole week and have lots of suggestions for how to raise money for them.
  • You can sign up on their website (link below) and check out suggested fundraising activities such as their Super 7 Challenge!

Scottish Autism:

  • Based in Scotland.
  • They run a One Stop Shop where autistic people (even those without a diagnosis) can go for support. I spoke to one of their advisers when I was looking into a diagnosis and they explained the whole process which helped me feel more informed.
  • They also run courses for families of autistic people to teach them how to support their loved ones.
  • Another resource that they provide are support groups, which I have attended (these are currently online). You can meet other autistic people with similar interests e.g. gaming or arts and crafts. I actually used these groups to meet other autistic females because I didn’t know many others, and it was a really positive experience!
  • They are running multiple events throughout April to raise money and awareness including a Virtual Kilt Walk from 23rd to 25th April (link below).

“Different Minds. One Scotland.” Campaign:

  • This is a campaign run by Inspiring Scotland which is currently helping to promote accurate information about autism.
  • You can download their campaign manifesto on their website (link below) to read more about the work that they are doing.
  • They are using social media and advertisements to dispel myths around autism, and I find that they explain it in very simple terms!
  • They also include a huge number of autistic people in their campaign.
  • You can see links to donate, and read about where your donations will go on their website (Autism is under their “Social Care and Mental Health” funding section).

Ways to spread awareness

Do:

  • Talk to your friends and family about autism!
  • Read websites, blogs, and watch videos created by autistic people (even TikTok is a great resource for listening to us!).
  • Promote material by autistic creators, especially those from marginalised groups such as autistic females, women of colour, and LGBTQ+ people.
  • If you create fundraisers, then make sure to include information from reliable resources to prevent the spread of misinformation.
  • Attend conferences or workshops about autism – many of these are free and online!
  • If you have autistic loved ones, ask them about how you can support them better.
  • Look into your employers or universities to see what support they can provide, and validate autistic people who suggest improvements.

Don’t:

  • Use the word “Aspergers” when discussing autism – this is an old term which is rarely used by our community because of its negative connotations.
  • Use high and low functioning labels when discussing autistic people – these promote the idea that the autistic spectrum goes from “high” to “low”. The spectrum is not a linear gradient with two extremes, there are so many ways in which autism can present in people.
  • Support Autism Speaks if you are in the U.S. – this organisations supports ABA therapy which forces autistic children to mask, instead of accepting autistic people as they are.
  • Support any campaigns which claim to “cure” autism or “reduce symptoms”.

Have fun!

I hope that this little post will help if anyone is considering getting involved in Autism Awareness Day, Week or Month. Even if you don’t raise any money, it would still be great if you took the time at some point this month to learn a little bit more about autism. I intend to use this blog and other forms of social media to keep spreading awareness around autism, so stick around if you want to learn some more!

Links to websites

National Autistic Society: https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/raise-money/world-autism-awareness-week

Scottish Autism: https://www.scottishautism.org/support-us

Inspiring Scotland Manifesto:

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