It wasn't so long ago that fatherhood had a straight-up Don Draper mentality. Now, more and more dads are flipping the script on their expected roles, taking paternity leave, being stay-at-home dads and pushing away breadwinner expectations.
Each year, April 1 marks the start of International Autism Awareness Month. Mayors in many cities around the world raise a symbolic flag, and awareness campaigns are often launched on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2. But autism advocacy groups are calling on the public and media outlets to use a different word instead of awareness: acceptance. The idea is that this shift would push the general public to be even more inclusive of people on the autism spectrum.
Since the early 1970s, autism groups around the world have worked hard to educate schools and workplaces about the signs, symptoms and facts of autism. And while this has been largely successful, the autistic population is still extremely marginalized: Many are under-employed, suffer from depression and often live in poverty. General public “awareness” has had a limited tangible impact on the lives of people living with autism and may have even led to some of the negative stereotypes. A deliberate rebranding, however, aims to achieve specific goals like the following:
increased employment opportunities for adults on the autism spectrum
more positive, empowered and diverse portrayals of autism in media and entertainment
next-level inclusive classrooms, especially in secondary and post-secondary schools
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) started calling April Autism Acceptance Month in 2011, explaining that, “Acceptance of autism as a natural condition in the human experience is necessary for real dialogue to occur.”
Facts to Feelings
At three years of age, Avi was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He communicated mostly in three-word phrases and had an extremely active and creative imagination that kept him focused on acting out and repeating animated movies and children’s songs he had memorized. He struggled to socialize with his peers. Several years ago, I facilitated his transition into school in my role as Director of...
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