Autism Acceptance Week is held during the week coinciding with Autism Acceptance Day. This year, it takes place from to . Autism, aka Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), affects mental, behavioral, and social development. The degree to which autism impacts an individual is unique to them since each person’s circumstances are unique. Symptoms appear as early as the first 12 months of life and can last throughout life. Many people with autism can have their symptoms and quality of life improved over time due to strong support networks and coping mechanisms and routines that work for them.
History of Autism Acceptance Week
Autism Acceptance Week first started as Autism Awareness Week back in 2007 when it was first held. That was in conjunction with the first World Autism Acceptance Day, which fell on April 2. It happened in a time of great need for more awareness of autism and what it means. Before autism became as understood and recognized as it is today, many misconceptions surrounded it. When autism was first coined as a medical term in 1911 by Paul Eugen Bleuler, it was used in reference to what was believed to be the childhood or infantile version of schizophrenia.
Over the years, our understanding grew deeper as medical professionals realized that autism was a neurodevelopmental condition that was completely separate from schizophrenia. Everyone needed to know, whether they were on the spectrum or not. After more than a decade of efforts focused on increasing awareness and education, there has been a recent shift toward focusing on acceptance and equality regarding autism. Therefore, the name has recently changed to better reflect this agenda.
This Week is a global chance to raise awareness of autism and fundraise for charities that support the cause. More importantly, the Week is spent advocating for the acceptance of autism and those who fall into the spectrum. Fundraisers, seminars, and supportive displays are common ways people keep to the spirit of the Week.
Autism Acceptance Week timeline
German scientist Eugen Bleuler first coins the term “autism” when describing a symptom of schizophrenia.
Research on autism as a condition begins.
Autism is entered into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), recognizing it as a legitimate condition.
The DSM-5 is launched, combining the subcategories of autism into one diagnostic entity that makes use of a spectrum instead of categories.
Autism Acceptance Week FAQs
What causes ASD?
ASD is rooted in genetics which is why it can run in families and be passed down to descendants.
Does bad parenting cause ASD?
No, ASD is not in any way caused by bad parenting. That hypothesis was disproved several years ago.
What exacerbates the symptoms of ASD?
Parents, teachers or a community that does not understand ASD have been known to exacerbate symptoms of ASD.
How to Observe Autism Acceptance Week
Support those with autism
People with autism are still there after the Week concludes. Make an everyday effort, however small, to understand people who think and live differently from you.
Take the opportunity to attend one of the many talks hosted by autism-based organizations during the Week or even learn on your own. Understanding autism and autistic people go a long way toward making a difference.
Fundraise for your locals
Take part in an online or in-person fundraising event like a quiz or marathon and help to raise funds for your local organization that seeks to support or research autism. Your support can be as simple as taking part in the event or volunteering to help run it.
5 Facts About Autism You Should Know
One family member’s treatment for autism can cost $60,000 a year, but it has been known to decrease if the person is diagnosed and helped as early as possible.
If one identical twin has ASD, then there is a 60 to 96% chance that the other twin will also have it due to genetics being the root cause of ASD.
The diagnostic gender gap
Both research and presentation of ASD have always been skewed by focusing on male subjects, which leaves many females undiagnosed because the way they present symptoms appears to be different from males.
Famous people with ASD
Anthony Hopkins, Bill Gates, Emily Dickinson, and Albert Einstein are all famous people who have been diagnosed or thought to have had ASD during their lives.
Around 35% of students with ASD in the U.S. do not have a job or receive postgraduate education after graduating high school.
Why Autism Acceptance Week is Important
It leads to acceptance
Only through continuous and steady effort can we foster a greater understanding of autism. This will in turn lead to acceptance between people with and without ASD.
Highlights current problems
The Week highlights the current barriers made by the community. For instance, some public and private areas could be inaccessible or difficult to navigate for people with ASD due to something as simple and fixable as lighting.
It’s a reminder
World Autism Acceptance Week encourages and circulates information about ASD and what it’s like to live with it. During this time, it’s easier for people to talk about ASD and how it impacts how an individual sees the world and interacts with it..
Autism Acceptance Week dates