As you should already know, just a few short years ago I made a valuable contribution to Autistic History on the local level here in Virginia. While I was on the board of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia I convinced a majority NT (neurotypical) board to shift April from being called Autism Awareness Month to being called Autism Acceptance Month.
Just after joining the board in 2011 I started talking to my fellow members about the importance of Autism Acceptance, many on the board were parents of Autistic children, both young and old. I reminded them that what they wanted for their children was to be accepted not shunned, stims and all. I added that society was already aware of Autism that what we now needed was to move toward Autism Acceptance. I stressed that we as a board needed to help to forge a positive future for Autistics of all ages and to do so we must move away from awareness. I kept talking about Autism Acceptance throughout that year and in November of 2011 my continued urging bore fruit, that majority NT board with its sole Autistic member (yours truly) voted unanimously to rename April in Northern Virginia - Autism Acceptance Month. We celebrated our first Autism Acceptance Month in April of 2012.
Autism Acceptance is not just something one does during the month of April it is instead something that one must do every day. Autism Acceptance is an action, it takes effort and understanding, and it is achievable, not insurmountable. There are Autistics in your community whether you know it or not, they too need to be accepted as part of that community just like everyone else. My hope is that one day an Autistic person stimming at a table in a coffee shop or covering their ears due to an uncomfortably loud unexpected sound will be common place and not seen as strange. We are all one community and need to work together to make it a better one. Autism Acceptance is an important part of that, not just for the Autistic children growing up today, but also for the Autistic adults who are already here both diagnosed and undiagnosed. We need Acceptance. Every Autistic contribution should be valued and none discounted, whether they be large are small all are important and valued.
What I have done other Autistics have yet to do; it is a great feat and needs to be remembered as part of our shared Autistic History. I am very proud of my accomplishment and wish others to know it.