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Hi everyone! I’d like to start this topic off with an apology/correction from last years challenge. I used some ableist terminology back then and also encouraged use of the puzzle piece as an autistic symbol. While I am autistic myself, what I said back then was unintentionally ableist and spread a lot of misinformation, so let me correct myself here:
Firstly, I called it autism awareness month instead of acceptance month. While it is officially titled “awareness” month, most autistic people (including myself whence I researched into this) prefer the term acceptance as most people are already aware autism exists. While we do need awareness spread about ableism and the issues we face, what we don’t need is people treating autism like a disease and spreading “awareness” like you would cancer or HIV/AIDS. Instead of awareness, what we really need is acceptance.
Secondly, I promoted use of the puzzle piece being used as a symbol of autism. This is not okay as it implies autistic people have a piece missing from us and is also used a symbol of Autism Speaks, a hate organization wanting to rid of autistic people.
Also, I referred to myself as “high functioning” later in the conversation. Functioning labels are ableist and imply there’s a way to be more or less autistic, and that non verbal or otherwise higher support need autistic people can’t function. They’re also based in outdated research which puts the autism spectrum as a linear graph when in reality it is so much more. Instead, opt for terms like higher or lower support needs or verbal and non verbal instead.
While I am happy I got to create a challenge relating to who I am as a person, I’m ashamed in what I said back then and hope you all understand it doesn’t reflect me as a person. So, let’s try this again!
Autism Acceptance Month begins April 1st, and Autism Acceptance Day is April 2nd. Many people misunderstand autism and treat it like a disease or illness, when in reality that’s not true at all! Many people infantilize autistic people or think we’re all the same. Autism also often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, especially in AFAB people and people of color. There’s a lot of challenges and educational/celebrational projects relating to LGBTQ and BLM, but not so many for neurodivergency and disabilities. Which is why I created this challenge!
So, to celebrate autism and also spread acceptance and educate people about it, I’d love if everyone could make a project to post April 2nd (or anytime throughout the month). The project can be anything- a drawing, trail art, interactive game/story, or in my case what I’ll be posting will be more educational/informative, teaching what autism is for me/my experiences. I would like to note that if you’re not autistic yourself, I recommend you research everything well, because it’s very easy to be misinformed.
Also, if you want to use a symbol for autism in your project, please use the rainbow infinity symbol rather than the puzzle piece/puzzle piece ribbon! If you google rainbow infinity symbol it should appear in images.
Some organizations that support autistic people and offer resources on autism include the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the Autistic Women & Non-binary Network, linked on my profile. Please avoid referencing Autism Speaks and going to them for resources.
Specific ideas for projects include:
-Infinity symbol trail art
-Drawing of the infinity symbol
-“Happy Autism Acceptance Month/Day” or another similar text, just as a card
-A project appreciating autistic people or characters (credit to @Serenity for this idea, her project in the last challenge was fantastic!)
-A project focusing on certain aspects of autism (for example, maybe educating on sensory issues or stimming, please however do thorough research if you do do this!)
And anything else!
Any projects that are submitted, like last year, will be planted, liked, and you will be followed! As for “judging” I’ll pick one or two projects I think are really excellent and give those people a small drawing request, though I don’t plan on judging in a traditional sense.
Please have fun and have a wonderful day! I look forward to seeing what everybody creates :D