Is Awareness Acceptance or Inclusion?

Is Awareness Acceptance or Inclusion?
Posted on 03/28/2024
boy sitting with headphones on on a sidewalk

Is Awareness Acceptance or Inclusion?

March 2024

Have you ever wondered if you should say “individual with autism” or “autistic person” when referring to someone with autism? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have asked this question, especially over the last few years with the wide-spread use of the term neurodiversity. In fact, there is a movement from the autistic community to have their voice heard related to this topic – the use of person first versus identify first language.

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and marks the beginning of autism acceptance and awareness month. For many years it was referred to as autism awareness, but what is needed at this time is more than awareness, it’s also acceptance. And even more than acceptance, it’s inclusion. And to truly be inclusive, we need to include the voices of individuals with autism. This is one of the reasons why this question continues to surface.

Should I say, “student with autism” or “autistic student” or “my child with autism” or “my autistic child”?

The autistic community has worked to have their voices included in this conversation and the community at large has stated a preference of being referred to as autistic. Yet as a society, especially in the field of education, we still struggle with the question, which is correct, person first or identify first.

As you keep autism in the forefront this month, think about how we can include the voices of those touched with autism. How do we support their preference and honor who they are? One way we do this is simply by asking or listening to them. Does the person refer to themselves as autistic? Does the parent say my son with autism? Or do they prefer you simply use their name? Whatever the answer is, honoring their preference and following their lead is one way we move from awareness and acceptance to inclusion.

Interested in learning more about autism, honoring the autistic voice and promoting inclusion of this neurodiverse population?

Join us on April 11th for the 6th Annual Regional Autism Conference hosted by CAPTAIN X and the Region 10 Coordinating Council, NeuroHarmony: Fostering Inclusion through Evidence-Based Practices for Individuals with Autism. This conference includes the voices of autistic adults, family members of people with autism, and professionals in the field. The day will be spent discussing inclusion and sharing evidence-based practices and a variety of other resources to support this work.

Learn more about upcoming CAPTAIN X events and resources by following them on Instagram & Facebook @captainxebps

For more information on autism and evidence-based practices for autism, check out these resources: