Autism, Awareness and Acceptance
From the Co-Director
March 16, 2011 Prism Newsletter
By Paula C. Durbin-Westby
Autism Awareness Month is a time for learning about autism and introducing others to new concepts and ideas. It can also bring about mixed feelings for people on the autism spectrum and for our families and friends.
For many of us, it’s a time of heightened focus on cures, prevention, and treatment, some of which we find misleading, or frightening, or offensive. Recently, as a statement that something additional is needed, I posted a Facebook event called “Autism Acceptance Day.” My description of the event said, “Acceptance, not ‘cures’, not ‘tolerance’, not ‘yes, but…’, just acceptance!” I was surprised that in less than half an hour, almost 100 people signed up. The event draws parents, family members, and people on the spectrum and with other disabilities. These people want something positive to look forward to during a month when sometimes the focus seems to be all about the negatives.
At the Autism NOW Center, we also believe strongly in acceptance. The basis of all our activities is the Developmental Disabilities Act. The principles of the DD Act are inclusion, integration, independence, and self-determination. Everything we do at the Center is informed by these principles. Acceptance of people on the spectrum as we are should be a very important part of any autism awareness activities. With acceptance comes the kinds of responses and approaches that help us live fulfilling lives in school, home, and community. It is the Autism NOW Center’s intent to bring you important, and positive, resources and information about autism.
Paul C. Durbin-Westby is the Co-Director of the Autism NOW Center.