Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder. It affects communication, social interaction, and other behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 54 children in the US are diagnosed with autism.
Though autism understanding is growing, there’s still plenty of work to do! Discrimination, myths, and stigmas still exist. The good news is we can all advocate for autism acceptance by promoting understanding and inclusion. When we do, the neighborhoods and communities around us become more welcoming, positive, and supportive of our loved ones with autism.
Why Autism Acceptance Matters
If you have a loved one with autism, you long to see them accepted, respected, and celebrated. That’s because you know that despite our differences, we all have unique gifts and contributions that can elevate the world around us. If you’ve ever felt sad or discouraged over discrimination and stigmas, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are people all over the world working to increase awareness and acceptance – and parents like you who care with all their hearts!
Autism is commonly misunderstood. If you have a child or family member with autism, you may have had the unfortunate experience of witnessing discrimination in action. Discrimination and stigmas can make it hard for people with autism to access essential opportunities like education and employment. When we advocate for people with autism, we can boost understanding and awareness, increasing acceptance.
Promoting Equal Access to Opportunities and Resources
People with autism have just as much potential, skill, drive, and desire as anyone else. But they face unique barriers and obstacles to things others take for granted. That’s why it’s so important for friends, family, and the broader community to promote equal access for individuals with autism. When this happens, the whole world gets to experience the beautiful contributions of people with autism who are given the chance to succeed.
Encouraging Positive Attitudes and Social Inclusion
As you probably know, children and adults with autism often struggle with social interactions. This might cause them to feel excluded or isolated at school, work, and even in their own families. When we advocate for autism acceptance, promoting positive attitudes toward individuals with autism is important.
When we promote positivity, we take an essential step toward encouraging social inclusion. Though they may express or interact differently than you or I, people with autism need connection, inclusion, and care just as much as the rest of us. More welcoming communities start with us!
What is an Inclusive Community?
An inclusive community welcomes people of all abilities, backgrounds, and identities. You can know an inclusive community because it respects diversity, creates a supportive environment for all, and nurtures a supportive environment.
People with autism thrive in inclusive communities. They can access resources, experience meaningful social connections, and enjoy the sense of belonging we all need. Best of all, an inclusive community can start with your family! As the inclusive movement grows, you’ll be thrilled to notice that discrimination and harmful stigmas are reduced as awareness and understanding take their place.
Inclusive communities have the following traits:
- Commitment to diversity
- Open communication
- Respect for all citizens
- A desire to learn
- Promotion of equal treatment and opportunity
Creating an Inclusive Community
Creating an inclusive community might sound like a tall order. But it’s not complicated and doesn’t have to start on a big scale. When you lead by example, you’ll be surprised how much you inspire and encourage others to follow suit. It’s helpful to remember that discrimination often has its roots in ignorance. By spreading awareness and insight, you can help other people grow and sow seeds of inclusivity in your community.
Here are a few ideas for creating a community that’s more inclusive for people with autism:
Education and Awareness
Inclusive communities offer plenty of opportunities for education on autism. This can include training and information about the disorder and how it affects individuals and their families. Education is a powerful tool that helps reduce harmful stigmas and encourages positive attitudes toward individuals with autism.
Promoting accessibility is a vital role of inclusive communities. Accessibility helps ensure that children and adults with autism have equal access to opportunities and resources the rest of us often take for granted. You can think of accessibility as helping your autistic loved one access community centers, learning facilities, libraries, museums, and more. It might also include assistive technology and other tools that improve the everyday lives of individuals with autism.
Encouraging Diversity and Respect
Inclusive communities make everyone feel welcome. Anyone who has ever felt shut out, rejected, or discriminated against knows how terrible it is to be excluded in your own community. On the other hand, inclusive communities encourage a welcoming tone that respects people of all walks of life, beliefs, stages of life, and, of course, people with autism. In this kind of community, all people can experience dignity, respect, and essential human connection.
Conclusion: The Importance of Inclusive Communities
Sensory Scout is an inclusive community! We love our family of parents, kids, grandparents, and everyone else who comes together to offer support, connection, and encouragement. We believe everyone should be treated with dignity and appreciated for their unique contributions to the world.
Don’t forget to join our Facebook community and follow us on Instagram if you haven’t already! We have tons of special announcements, discounts, educational tools, and sensory-friendly products you won’t want to miss.