Jun 21, 2013 0 Share

Beyond Ribbons


The word "Pride" in red letters on background of words.
iStockphoto

Today a first of its kind event called “Autism Pride Week” is concluding in North Carolina. When I first heard about it I was curious about its overall impact. We all know about Autistic Pride Day that started a few years back and I wondered if this was an outgrowth. Autism Pride Week as I watched from a short video via WLOS TV station is a week focused on being proud of being autistic. It highlights “Autism Pride” in ways that may be familiar, but extending it over an entire week allows it to be much more comprehensive. 

What made for icing on the cake for me is that this event has the complete support of the community where it is being hosted. This support could not be more apparent. The Mayor of Asheville, Terry Bellamy, proclaimed the week of June 16th as “Autism Pride Week”. This is a great step to the possible reccurrence of an event like this in the future. As someone who plans and implements events it makes a huge difference to have the support of the local government. 

This is absolutely a step in the right direction. This is a topic that is going to be contagious, as “our society” grows older and more educated. We have a wide spectrum out there and as much as we see the problems associated with autism highlighted we also have to look at the happiness that many autistic people enjoy each and every day. As an autistic adult my overall sense of pride and acceptance of myself has changed dramatically as I’ve grown up. I’m happier with myself than I’ve been in years and that’s why I can support something like this so openly. Events like this should be welcomed with open arms. Currently Autism Acceptance Month is April. 

The question, which I think is worth being raised, is simple. If the numbers of those with autism continue to grow dramatically, then why shouldn’t events concerning or highlighting and celebrating us increase as well? 

I commend the fantastic efforts done here and wish this week will be adopted in many of our communities in years to come.