Historical & Current Events dictionary

Autism Awareness Month

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What is Autism Awareness Month?

Autism Awareness Month is a month-long observance focused on raising awareness about autism spectrum disorders, what it means to be autistic, how to support autistic people, and the difficulties and discrimination that autistic people face.

Observance of the month often involves educational events and ways to show support for autistic people and their families.

Note: Some autistic people and advocates object to the focus of Autism Awareness Month and some of the organizations that promote it. In particular, they criticize the goals of some organizations as ableist due to the perception that they treat autistic and other neurodivergent people as needing to be cured.

Some instead observe the month as Autism Acceptance Month. Sometimes, the month is called World Autism Month. 

When is Autism Awareness Month?

Autism Awareness Month is observed during the month of April.

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Greta Thunberg, Autism Acceptance Month

Where does Autism Awareness Month come from?

In 1972, the Autistic Society established National Autistic Children’s Week as part of its efforts to educate people about autism spectrum disorders and how to support autistic people. This evolved into a month-long observance known as Autism Awareness Month, which became widely observed throughout the autism community.

In the 2010s, many individuals and organizations, most prominently the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, began to shift toward observing the month as Autism Acceptance Month. Use of this name was formally adopted by the Autistic Society in 2021. Along with the change in the name, many have called for autism advocacy campaigns to prioritize acceptance and to be refocused around the viewpoints and experiences of autistic people.

Examples of Autism Awareness Month

Since Autism Awareness Month is coming up, I just wanted to say: If your allyship for autistic folks is centered on the voices of the parents of autistic children and not the autistic adults those children grow up to be, it's not allyship.
@jiiniecat, March 24, 2021
Broke: Autism Awareness Month Woke: Autism Acceptance Month Bespoke: Autistic Pride Month
@stevemlieberman, March 27, 2019
April has arrived, and with that has come Autism Awareness Month. On the surface, this seems like a great thing. As an autistic person, however, April consists mostly of people showing how ignorant they are about autism.
Katrina Janco, The Daily Pennsylvanian, April 9, 2019
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More information and context on Autism Awareness Month

Did you know … ?

  • The word autism is common in casual use but is no longer used in a formal way by clinical professionals. The term autism spectrum disorder is now widely preferred.

What are other words used in discussion of Autism Awareness Month?

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of Autism Awareness Month like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Autism Awareness Month that will help our users expand their word mastery.