April is Autism Acceptance Month. It is important to shift from a more passive notion of “awareness” towards taking action in “acceptance”.
Avoid problematic icons and images
Although previously used to symbolize autism, puzzle pieces are now seen as ableist in reference to autistic individuals “missing a piece” or being “a puzzle to be solved”. Rather, use the rainbow infinity symbol, which signifies the diversity of individuals on the autism spectrum. Similarly, the use of blue as a color for autism awareness promotes the false idea that only (or mostly) boys have autism.
Autism Awareness Month, set up by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, has great resources for autistic individuals, parents, educators, employers, and the general public. Given the (incorrect) historical notion that autism disproportionately affects boys, take the time to acknowledge that women are neurologically diverse and educate yourself about women on the autism spectrum (e.g., check out this thread)
Support organizations led by #ActuallyAutistic people
Autistic Self Advocacy Network (@autselfadvocacy)
Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network (@awnnetwork_)
And conversely, don’t support organizations that are not led by autistic people
Autism Speaks, which is regarded as a hate group, advocates for a “cure”, and spends very little of their funds on supporting individuals with autism.
Promote #ActuallyAutistic people on social media
Support work by folks like Dela McDonald, who uses comics to educate folks on how to interact with her “non-verbal” autistic daughter.