If it’s April, it’s Autism Acceptance Month.

Whether you know it or not, you know someone who is affected by autism – Minnesota’s fastest growing developmental disability. One in 34 Minnesotans are autistic; such a high prevalence rate means the autism community is all of us – it’s your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and their families – all people worthy of acceptance.

Welcome to Autism Acceptance Month, April 2024.

Autism acceptance resonates with AuSM’s mission to create connections, empowering everyone in the autism community with the resources needed to live fully. Of course, acceptance isn’t an end point. It’s just another step towards true inclusion and support for everyone in our community.

The Road to Acceptance (hint: we’re still on it – not there yet)
In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly established April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day, which then morphed into all of April as Autism Awareness Month. A growing share of the autism community now favors “autism acceptance” over “autism awareness”  – considering awareness as a good start that must advance further.

How are awareness and acceptance different, and why must we move towards acceptance? Autism awareness gets stuck seeing only our differences, while acceptance finds commonalities – and celebrates differences. Awareness can too often be just a passing glance at shortcomings, while acceptance sharpens its sustained focus on abilities and strengths, grounded in careful listening to the autistic community itself.

WHAT CAN YOU DO for Autism Acceptance Month?

We want as many partners as we can get working together toward autism acceptance, so we’ll make this simple: say you’re in and you’re in. Acceptable? Great, we’re partners – click here to make it official. Sign up your organization and champion this initiative! Partners can participate in one or more activities starting in April and continuing for as long as desired. For ideas on several ways to engage, click here. You can also create your own plan – please share your ideas with us. Click here for our partner toolkit. Your support helps us connect autistic individuals and their networks of support to education, resources, advocacy, and to each other.

Taking the Long View on Coming of Age
As part of Autism Acceptance Month 2024 and with partners MICC (Minnesota Independence Community and College) and MAAN (Multicultural Autism Action Network), AuSM is joining a more extensive campaign focused on this simple-yet-complex premise: autistic children become autistic adults.

Rightfully so, much of our past focus has been providing support and services for autistic kids and their families. For 50+ years as Minnesota’s First Autism Resource, we’ve grown up with these families – generation after generation. The constant is we all grow older. We’re consciously increasing our focus on the whole lifespan of autistic Minnesotans. Our important work benefiting autistic kids and their families will always continue – but with heightened focus on preparing next generations for long, fulfilling lives. We’re here to support coming-of-age autistic adults, and we’re sticking with them with support into retirement and well beyond.

Standing on the shoulders of giants in autistic self-advocacy, we can look back on gratifying progress toward autism acceptance. Disability rights are human rights, and as such, they should always move forward – never ceding back nor remaining stagnant. We acknowledge where we’ve been, and assess where we’re at – all to inform our way still forward to realize greater inclusion for people with autism.

Click here to read the State of Minnesota Proclamation from Governor Tim Walz on Autism Acceptance Month 2024.

We believe that acceptance is creating a world where everyone in the autism community is connected to the support they need, when they need it. Let’s make it happen together this Autism Acceptance Month.

2024 Autism Acceptance Month Partners
Accessibility 101
Allegra Downtown St. Paul
Autism Advocacy & Law Center
Best Care
Brightmont Academy
Caravel Autism Health
Dakota County Technical College
Duluth Edison Charter Schools
Elevate Social Skills
Friesen Holistic Services LLC
MAAN (Multicultural Autism Action Network)
Minnesota Independence College & Community (MICC)
Minnesota Mental Health Clinics
Opportunity Partners
Partners in Community Supports (PICS)
Red Mood Marketing
Somali Parents Autism Network (SPAN)
Strider Education Foundation