This April, ASAN will be working with activists and community members across the country to help launch Autism Acceptance Month, a celebration of Autistic culture and community. We want you to help us by organizing a local event in your area for Autism Acceptance Month and letting us know about it by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There are lots of options, but here are a few ideas for you to consider as you start your planning:
- Community Readings: The Autistic Community is home to some great writers and essayists, some of whom are not yet broadly recognized by the general public. By organizing a local reading event at a bookstore or other public space, you can help introduce members of your community to pieces like Jim Sinclair’s seminal “Don’t Mourn for Us” or Julia Bascom’s “Quiet Hands”. Look to your favorite Autistic authors and bloggers for a place to start – or check out the recently published Loud Hands, Autistic People Speaking anthology for a collection of some of our community’s most important writings.
- Stim-Ins: Have fun while educating people about autism access needs – by holding a “stim-in”, you can gather community members together to enjoy cool stim toys and good company while hearing presentations on how to accommodate the access needs of Autistic community members. Topics to cover may include things like social communication signal badges, accommodating sensory access needs, creating safe spaces, understanding and supporting the neurodiversity movement, what being an “ally” really means and much more. Alternatively, these can be a great way for Autistic community members to congregate and spend time together in Autistic space.
- Film Screenings: The last few years have seen the emergence of some great films involving Autistic community and voice. Flicks like Loving Lampposts, Wretches and Jabberers, Citizen Autistic and many others help send the message that Autistic people are part of the fabric of our society and are not going anywhere. Organize a local screening and facilitate a discussion session afterwards to help make sure that the message of Autism Acceptance is available in your community.
- Panel Presentations: Always a favorite for public education efforts, panels allow you to bring together various leading voices in your local Autistic community. By placing self-advocate voices front and center, a panel presentation may be just what you need to help provide an overview of the neurodiversity movement, self-advocacy or key opportunities and challenges your local Autistic community may be facing in the coming months and years. Panels work well for exploring both basic concepts in autism acceptance and more complicated issues, like self-advocate/parent relations or research policy.
- Much more! We want to hear about what works for you and your community – feel free to come up with ideas not on this list. And remember, when you do, e-mail us at email@example.com so we can list your event on our website for Autism Acceptance Month.