Today’s World Autism Day and the second day of Autism Acceptance Month, and I’ve already seen a bunch of folks sharing posts of support, which is wholesome and lovely and much appreciated. However a lot of them use colours, symbols, tropes, and language that have some pretty harmful origins. A lot of these are super easy to miss if you haven’t spent a much time around the Autistic community, so I’ve gathered up some resources on some of the biggest ones I’ve seen recently.
Words are one of my big challenges, but I’ve collated links to a whole bunch of related resources, with illustrative images, from Autistic folks much more articulate than I.
Autism Acceptance Month: The Resources
Some general info to start with…
Reframing Autism: A manifesto for allies adopting an acceptance approach to Autism
AssistiveWare: 5 Guidelines for Autism Acceptance Month and beyond
Autistic Mama: Autism Resources A-Z For Acceptance and Understanding
Other general resources
Autism “Awareness” or Autism Acceptance?
The Mary Sue: Autism Doesn’t Make Me Blue: How to Support Autistic People This April
AWN Network (Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network): Tell Me About Your Autism Awareness Month
In the Loop About Neurodiversity: Why Autism Awareness Isn’t Enough
AWN Network (Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network): Your Autism Awareness Has Failed
Speaking of Autism…: Moving Beyond Autism Awareness
AWN Network (Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network): Autism Acceptance Requires Action
Autism charity or anti-Autism hate group?
AWN Network (Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network): Why I Boycott Autism Speaks
AWN Network (Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network): Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group?
Autistic Mama: 4 Simple Reasons I Don’t Support Autism Speaks
Speaking of Autism…: Why You Should Not Support Autism Speaks
In the Loop About Neurodiversity: The Ableist History of Autism Speaks
In the Loop About Neurodiversity: Is Autism Speaks Capable of Change?
Bonus: The Good & the Bad
In the Loop About Neurodiversity: Good Autistic Advocacy Organisations vs Bad Autism Charities
Learn From Autistics: The Problem With the Autism Puzzle Piece
Good Autism School: Puzzle Piece as a Symbol Of Autism: Critics
Fierce Autie: Puzzle Piece is Hated by the Autistic Community: the history and what to use instead
Autistic Alex: Why you need to stop using the puzzle piece to represent autistic people
Autistic Mama: Saying Goodbye to the Puzzle Piece
Blue = Autism
Light It Up Blue (or not)
The #RedInstead Response
Autistic Mama: What to Do Instead of Light it Up Blue for Autism Acceptance Day
Learn From Autistics: Wear “#RedInstead” on Autism Acceptance Day
Speaking of Autism…: This April, go #RedInstead for Autism Acceptance!
What Colours Should We Use?
Autistic and Unapologetic: Which Colour Represents Autism?
Language: Person-First vs Identity-First
“Person with Autism” vs “Autistic Person”
ASAN (Autistic Self-Advocacy Network): Identity-First Language (includes links to articles written on the topic by folks who use identity-first, person-first, and a mix of both)
In the Loop About Neurodiversity: Why the Autistic Community Prefers Identity First Language
AWN Network (Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network): The Failings of Person First Language
Speaking of Autism…: How Person-First Language can be Dehumanizing
Autistic Mama: 3 Simple Reasons to Use Identity Language For Autistics
“High-functioning” vs “Low-functioning”, “Severely Autistic” vs “Mildly Autistic”
Speaking of Autism…: The Fallacy of Functioning Labels
Autistic Mama: The Problem with Autistic Functioning Labels
Autistic Mama: Autism Functioning Labels are Inaccurate and Harmful
Rebecca Burgess: Understanding the Spectrum
I also highly recommend jumping on twitter and checking out the tags #ActuallyAutistic and #AskingAutistics