Language matters – it evolves and reflects changes in thinking. This is particularly true in the disability space. A recent example is the decision by many advocacy groups to shift references from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month (April).
“Autism Acceptance Not Awareness: A Perspective Shift Is Needed,” Forbes
“April 2022: Autism Acceptance Month,” Association of University Centers on Disabilities
“Autism Acceptance Month is underway. Here’s why the name is important,” USA Today
Simply put, awareness is recognition, while acceptance is action. As Johnny, a Vertical Harvest employee and autistic person, puts it “Awareness isn’t enough. Everyone should have the right to be who they really are on the inside.”
While many organizations recently changed their terminology, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) created Autism Acceptance Month (AAM) ten years ago. The following is a statement on the 10th anniversary of AAM:
“Acceptance is an Action,” ASAN
Let’s join together in moving from recognition to action!