Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18, Autism Pride Day


I never knew there was an Autism Pride Day before yesterday, when I came across it online.  In fact this is Autism Pride Week:
Autism Pride Week begins on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16th, with our kick-off speaking event by the 2013 National Book Critic’s Award winner for non-fiction, Andrew Solomon, at the charming jewel-box like Diana Wortham Theater, centrally located in downtown Asheville in the Pack Square Cultural Center. Also in the city center, the three-day film festival of autism related films will be held at the historic Fine Arts Theater. - Source
What and why?
Autistic Pride Day, an Aspies for Freedom initiative, is a celebration of the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum on June 18 each year.  Autistic pride recognises the innate potential in all people, including those on the autism spectrum.
In June, the organisations around the world celebrate Autistic Pride Day, with events around the world, to persuade "neuro-typicals", people not on the autism spectrum, that autistic people are "unique individuals" who should not be seen as cases for treatment.

Autistic pride asserts that autistic people have a unique set of characteristics that provide them many rewards and challenges. Although autism is an expression of neurodiversity, some people promoting Autistic pride believe that some of the difficulties that they experience are as the result of societal issues. For instance, campaigns to gain funding for autism related organizations promote feelings of pity. Researchers and people with high-functioning autism have contributed to a shift in attitudes away from the notion that autism is a deviation from the norm that must be treated or cured, and towards the view that autism is a difference rather than a disability. New Scientist magazine released an article entitled "Autistic and proud" on the first Autistic Pride Day that discussed the idea. - Source
As stated in another Wikipedia article, an "autistic culture has developed, with some individuals seeking a cure and others believing autism should be accepted as a difference and not treated as a disorder."

I never knew that.

"Diagnosis is based on behavior, not cause or mechanism."

I'm not sure, but from what I've read so far, I believe most agree that there is a 'strong genetic basis' for autism.  There are those who seek a cure, and apparently there is a growing number who object to seeking a cure - hence Autism Pride Week.

What I find very interesting is that autism may develop in the womb, or in infancy - and signs are normally recognized before three years of age.  Thus one could say a person was indeed 'born this way'.  As the child develops, from what I understand, he can regress after a certain point.  Some individuals progress however and live successful, integrated, lives, and so on. Others seem to come 'out of it' completely. 
 All known teratogens (agents that cause birth defects) related to the risk of autism appear to act during the first eight weeks from conception, and though this does not exclude the possibility that autism can be initiated or affected later, it is strong evidence that autism arises very early in development. - Source
To be sure, I know very little about the 'disorder', but I find the research very interesting.

Go here for a List of people with autism spectrum disorders.


  1. I went to the store this evening, providentially, the cashier who processed my order has autism - highly intelligent and very friendly.

  2. +JMJ+

    A few years ago, I was absolutely certain I had Asperger's syndrome. I had read a list of the symptoms and was sure that they described me. I just wasn't sure how to get tested, so I joined an online forum for Aspies to ask them what kind of doctor I should be looking for, etc.

    Once in, however, I couldn't believe the characters who made up the majority of the posters. Nearly all of them were "self-diagnosed" (ROFLMAO!) and the running theme of all the top threads was how hard it was to be different and misunderstood by neurotypical people. (The community had a name for them. NTs or something like that.) It was as if they reveled in being victims . . . or at least underdogs. There was also a high in believing that many great figures of history showed symptoms of Asperger's--a kind of glory by association. I'm not surprised to learn that they have a Pride Day and a Pride Week. (Hey, why not a Pride Month, while they're at it?)

    Anyway, that one visit was enough "to cure" me. I have no idea whether I am on the spectrum or not, but I'm certainly not a member of a group in which pride is just the flipside of self-pity. I only thought I was because I wanted to feel special and it was a chance to blame my shortcomings on NTs who didn't get me.

    1. That's funny.

      I learned of autism through Temple Grandin, who has been the subject of interviews and so on. She is incredible.

  3. I removed a couple of comments which other readers may find offensive.

    Autism is not a joke and autistic persons are deserving of respect, regardless of their 'level' on the spectrum. Especially these days, it is important to respect and care about those who have any sort of disability, considering that Belgium has either recently approved, or is in the process of, permitting euthanasia for children.

    Likewise, the autism studies and 'Pride' events offer parents of autistic children a great deal of hope, encouraging them not to give up on education and preparing the autistic child for life.

    Thanks for your charity and understanding. God bless you.

  4. Dear Terry,
    I hope you don't think by my commnets that I was making funof anyone who suffers from any sort of mental illness. My only point was that too many today take the bizarre view that there is no normal/abnormal, and they therefore then celebrate the disability as a normal variation and repudiate any form of treatment. THat is what has happened with homosexuality- it is just a normal variant, not abnormal, and to be celebrated as such. We see it happening too with other disablities and illnesses. That was my only point, and I am sorry if it came across as offensive.

    1. Dear TT - I understood that - you are fine - I just didn't want the comments drifting toward anything that someone with autism or their loved ones might interpret as disrespectful. Thanks for coming back to let me know.

      God bless you.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.