Autistic Pride Day is all about individuals with Autism being proud of who they are, also bolding a fact that Autism is never a disease. But isn’t there even a world day (April 2) for autistics already? Why are they different? Why does June 18 matter? Read on!
It is a well-known fact that Pride Month occurs in June. And while a lot of LGBTQ+ people are going down the streets, waving the LGBT flags to voice their rights and pride, not only them take the spotlight during this period. The Autism community also has the 18th of June celebrated for themselves, and they have the Autism flag too. Let’s learn what the day is exactly about and why it matters so much for people in the community!
Origin of Autistic Pride Day
The first celebration of Autistic Pride was created in 2005 by Aspies For Freedom (AFF). Though there is not enough information to conclude why they chose June 18. It was only told that it is the birthday of the youngest member in the AFF. It does not make any sense, does it? But, never mind! All we know for sure is that the AFF picked June because that is also the month of Gay Pride. Yes. It is the “Pride” term that matters. Both two celebrations honor the strengths of being different.
Despite that, the concept of Autistic Pride is said to appear in 1996 by a handful of self-advocate activists, who felt that being autistic should be something to feel proud about. They noticed that there were many days and weeks for advocacy, but nothing centered around those with autism. To change that, these individuals decided to create something dedicated to celebrating their differences, strengths and uniqueness.
World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) vs. Autistic Pride Day (June 18)
You might have already known that there is a whole month for Autism (April), of which the second day is World Autism Awareness Day. Now, here is the question: Why do Autistics have TWO days and a whole month for themselves? Well, we are answering this question down below with the comparison between April 2 and June 18.
April 2 - World Autism Awareness Day
The United Nations chose April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. Following that, Autism Speaks picked April as the month to raise awareness and acceptance about autism. Both organizations serve that same goal.
In this month, many activities and events are held to spread knowledge and stories about autism. The only aim is to let people know about the disorder, accept and support others with autism. The most well-known autism campaign is the Light It Up Blue by Autism Speaks. Additionally, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, online events are made to continue the work of increasing awareness about ASD.
Although Autism Speaks is a famous organization that fights for Autistics, it has been confronting debates over the past years. Most reasons come from the fact that this “non-profit” organization is not actually non-profit. To say a little bit more, some of their marketing campaigns portrayed Autistics as something scary. Worse, they have worked on projects with the aim to “cure” ASD.
Whatever has happened, these things can not let people stop from raising awareness about Autism on April 2. It is beyond a day for any organization to talk about. It is a chance individuals with autism can take to make it easier for them to fit into our society.
June 18 - Autistic Pride Day
The 18th of June holds an absolutely different purpose. It is there to let autistics feel proud of themselves and to remind others with autism that being different is okay.
This day is not designed to make any progress in people’s understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nevertheless, it dwells on the scientific fact that autism is NOT a disease. It does not need any treatment or pity. For short, this day is all about how autistics feel about themselves and not how others feel about autistics!
On this day, there is no need for them to go out or join any event. They can just stay home and do something they love with their families.
Why Is This Day Important?
While Autism Awareness Month seems to get more and more popular every year, many still don’t know what Autism even means. They also have no idea how many people are affected by it, or why it exists. Or, they don’t know the potential increase in children with autism so they can prepare for their future babies.
The lack of awareness in society can be harmful. And while we are trying our best to improve it, self-awareness is more needed as a “shield” that can protect and get autistics through hardships.
When a young child is diagnosed with autism, he may notice the differences between him and many others. Growing a little bit, he easily mistakes them for being broken and starts to act in negative ways. In this stage, parents’ support is more than anything.
As a parent, you need to let your child know that he is special by encouraging him to do what he loves. Prove them they matter! The more autistic children feel useful, cared and not left out, the more they develop a strong mind and internal joy.
That leads to their pride. And pride makes them not feel wrong about themselves and gives them the strength to fight stigma. That’s why such a Day was made and become so important for autistic people.
On June 18th, 2022, there will be a worldwide celebration of Autistic Pride. People with autism celebrate their unique perspectives and strengths. This day also lets them know that they are not alone, that they have support and encouragement from others who understand what it’s like to live with autism.
All humans are autistic in different ways, some people just more visibly than others! Therefore, it is important to understand and accept yourself as you are – regardless of whether or not you have an official diagnosis.
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