April is National Autism Acceptance Month and we have decided to turn the tables. Rather than providing you with a plethora of resources and valuable links, we want to know what YOU - the people with autism, families, instructors, educators, and professionals have found to be “Tried and True” in your life.
While we pride ourselves on being experts in our field, we recognize that you’re the truest experts. So again, we are asking, “What is your Tried and True?”
Tried & True means: Something that has proven in the past to be effective or reliable.
Autistics and their circles of support know best what works for them.
Do you take noise-canceling headphones everywhere you go? Keep a spare pair in the car? What rituals or routines help you relax? Do have a friend or colleague you meet for coffee? Deep breathing at lunch? A favorite song on repeat? What’s that simple classroom strategy you go back to time and time again? How are you creatively using those sticky notes or whiteboards? Come on! We know you have some expert advice for us and the rest of the world!
Across the US, there has been a shift from “Autism Awareness” to “Autism Acceptance” — this shift was led by people with autism. The reasoning is simple. Acceptance requires taking conscious action and shifting from not only seeing and recognizing that autism exists, but seeking to listen and learn, and then adapting our perspectives and behaviors. Just being aware of resources surrounding autism will not necessarily lead to acceptance or create inclusive and supportive environments in our schools, communities, and relationships. But sharing thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and real-life experiences brings autism to the forefront, making it relatable and undeniable.
As you prepare to pass along your Tried and True with us, we hope you will realize the significance of sharing your advice, your experiences, your thoughts, and your resources. You are virtually extending a hand to another person who needs to connect with you. You are the faces of autism. You are the reality. You are the experts.
We want to thank you in advance for your transparency and your expertise.
Throughout the month of April, we encourage you to seek out opportunities that promote autism acceptance—for yourself and within your own communities. Following are a few simple ideas to get started:
Show support. Many organizations are hosting Autism Acceptance Month social media campaigns. You can easily show your support by reviewing and sharing the information and using designated social media tags. This month, OCALI is using the hashtag #TriedAndTrue as part of a month-long campaign.
Connect with others. Acceptance is an ‘everyone’ conversation and we all have the power and ability to support acceptance. Simply showing that you’re genuinely open and interested in learning more about autism, particularly from autistic people or their family members. Showing compassion and understanding goes a long way.
Share your Tried and True. Take a moment to share on social media pages, and anywhere else you can think of, the practices, ideas, exercises, and experiences you believe to be helpful and that will benefit others.
Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize the unique strengths, challenges, and experiences of each person with autism and their families. Have meaningful conversations. Reach out to others. Share what you know. Lead others toward acceptance. Be the expert that you are.