April is Autism Acceptance Month. While no one on our team is Autistic, we are all allies and take a client-centered, humanistic approach to working with all of our clients and their families. We seek to amplify their voices and help every client, autistic or non-autistic, speaking or non-speaking, feel comfortable, accepted, and seen in their own beautiful skin.
Here are some ways we are approaching Autism acceptance this month and all year round
Removing “Awareness” from our vocabulary.
Awareness implies that Autism is a problem that needs a solution. Acceptance means researching your own biased beliefs about Autism and then unlearning and relearning how to better amplify and accept Autistics. For example, in music therapy, we acknowledge and accept all forms of communication (i.e., speaking, writing, singing, spelling, gesturing) as valid, and stimming is not something to be fixed.
Using the preferred symbol
A rainbow or gold infinity symbol.
Embrace and celebrate neurodiversity
Neurodiversity is the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population. Sometimes this looks like, singing conversations instead of speaking or having client-directed sensory breaks.
Learn that there is no such thing as normal
What is normal anyway?! At The Groovy Garfoose, our goal is not to change who our clients are or conform them to some sort of normal standard of behavior or functioning in our world. Rather, the purpose of our work is to extend compassion and acceptance and to cultivate safe spaces for our clients to feel listened to, supported and valued in who they are as contributing members of our world.
Learn preferred language
Person-first language has been touted as the more respectful identifier; however, some people prefer identity-first. Not sure? Just ask.
Listen to Autistics
Some of our clients offered to share their feelings about having autism above
Support #ActuallyAutistic Advocates
We take our cues from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and follow social media accounts run by Autistics.