World Autism Awareness Week
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Now, of course, raising awareness of Autism is a marvellous thing but such events have been increasing over more than a decade. This year will see the 12th United Nations World Autism Day on April 2nd. Is it time to raise expectations? The challenge needs to be extended, moving individuals on to their own ‘next level’.
· Do you understand at least one autistic experience and remember that all autistic experiences are individual?
· Do you respect a different viewpoint or interpretation of the world?
· Do you behave in a way that accepts and validates a different way of communicating?
· Do you value the neurodiversity of the human race?
If someone is already autism aware, they should be working towards understanding, if they already understand, challenge them to become an ‘autism ally’ and so on. A neuro-typical (NT) person may never have the autistic experience, but they can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other human beings through shared values and respect.
World Autism Awareness Week is a great place to start your own journey. With 1-2% of the population identifying as autistic, this aspect of neurodiversity is no longer considered rare, but part of the spectrum of what it is to be a human being. Dr Will Mandy, Clinical Psychologist at University College London, recently challenged the attendees at the NAS Professionals Conference to redefine Autism for the 21st century. If it is time to update our definition of what it is to be autistic, then it is relevant to update the values that society should uphold: inclusion, respect and equality for those who identify as different.