The main goal behind Autism Acceptance Month is to push past the basic level of awareness and encourage people from all walks of life to become more open and accepting of autistic individuals. This movement seems to be catching on in many ways that take place even outside the month of April.
A prime example can be found with the many stores that have started having sensory friendly shopping events. Select Costco, Target, and Toys R Us locations have quiet hours. The AMC movie theater chain offers sensory friendly movie screenings at least twice a month, and one of these screenings is aimed at adults on the spectrum.
These issues are another reason that #RedInstead appears to be gathering momentum. After all, Autism Speaks has traditionally been focused on curing or preventing autism in children, which leaves little room for adults to find the support they need.
Focusing on acceptance instead of awareness can help foster an environment that enables autistic adults to be open and honest about their neurodiversity, including the challenges and strengths that come with it. The Autism Acceptance Month movement will undoubtedly continue to be controversial due to the division between those who do and don't support Autism Speaks. However, it does give autistic adults, teens, and children another avenue for finding support and a sense of community.
[Featured Image by Alex Abian/Flickr]