The month of June is dedicated to showing love to people who have been marginalized for being “different.” On this day in particular, we celebrate Autistic Pride Day to raise awareness among individuals who are not on the spectrum that those with autism are not to be pitied or belittled, but rather cherished for who they are.
What is Autistic Pride Day?
Every year on June 18, people around the world celebrate individuals with autism spectrum disorder for what makes them uniquely themselves.
In a Neuroclastic article by Kayla Smith, an autistic disability rights advocate and creator of #AutisticBlackPride, she writes that Autistic Pride Day “is a day to celebrate and embrace who you are as an autistic person and to be yourself without someone making sure you are acting neurotypical enough to pass as normal. I can celebrate who I am and be myself without shame. I want acceptance in the world as well as society to treat autistic people– including me– with respect. I want non-disabled people to see autism in a positive, affirming way instead of as a flaw or as being broken or diseased. The stigma around autism needs to change. Autistic people are more than the stereotype, and we are worthy.”
What do we celebrate?
According to the CDC, about 1 in 54 children have been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
This day helps people recognize the beauty of the condition. People with autism have hidden talents, strengths, and gifts that should be cherished by all of us, and yet so many of us choose to focus on the challenges they face which only divides us.
“A lot of people look at members of the autistic community and only see a disability, and that can cause a lot of separation,” says Special Needs Companies founder Annette Hines. “Autism Spectrum Disorder is not who they are — it is only part of their identity. We all have things that make us different from each other — isn’t that what makes life beautiful? I hope today and every day we do more than just look past these differences, and actually celebrate them. I think that’s where true connection happens.”
Today, we challenge you to notice, confront, and remove the prejudices you may have against the autistic community. It is only then that your eyes will truly be opened to the beauty they bring to our world.