Since the 1970’s, April has been known as Autism Awareness month. At Mobile Therapy Centers, we have been working toward changing the “awareness” to “acceptance”. What is the difference between awareness and acceptance? Awareness is knowing and acknowledging that Autism exists. It is the education on the basic signs and symptoms of Autism.
While being aware of Autism, the fact that it exists, and what the signs and symptoms may be, is an excellent starting point, it is not the end. Acceptance is just that. Accepting. Accepting the autistic person for who they are, and welcoming them into the world.
Mobile Therapy Centers is a multidisciplinary clinic, and one of the disciplines we specialize in is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA Therapy changes children’’s lives by teaching new behaviors and it is the evidence-based treatment for children diagnosed with Autism. It focuses on socially significant behaviors by teaching a variety of skills including reducing challenging behaviors and increasing skills that are important in daily life, like communication and social skills. MTC offers free on-site screenings/consultations that can be scheduled either by phone or through our website: www.mtcus.com.
1. Identity-First Language
The adult autistic community has expressed that there is a preference for identity-first language. This means the adult community prefers autistic to person with autism. While this may make you uncomfortable, or this may be the opposite of what you learned, this adjustment would demonstrate acceptance of the Autism community.
2. Listening to Autistic Voices
Opening the floor to hear from autistic individuals. Letting them share their story on what they have experienced in the world. Allow them to speak as the true experts on Autism, and make sure to listen and embrace their voices instead of pacifying or insisting they have nothing to contribute. Make sure to include your autistic client in all decision-making processes regarding therapy and treatment of any kind. Knowing that their voice, desires, and beliefs are an integral part of their own autonomy.
3. Stop Using Functioning Labels
The use of low and high functioning labels are viewed as dangerous and harmful. Using diagnostic levels may be a more appropriate way to describe how Autism affects a person’s daily life. Often, high functioning leads to not having enough struggles to target, and low functioning can lead to not having enough strengths to celebrate.
4. Understanding Masking and Its Consequences
Masking is a strategy autistics use to conceal their behavior that society has not accepted. This is a process in which an autistic individual will use neurotypical behavior they have learned and implement them during social situations. Masking can have serious side effects on mental health, including depression, anxiety and far worse. Allowing an individual to show their Autism characteristics, and still be respected and treated with kindness, is a way to demonstrate acceptance.
A quick Google search will give you more ideas on how to move toward acceptance. Additionally, Mobile Therapy Centers recommends following autistic adults on social media to understand their view of the world, and learn new ways to practice acceptance.
Mobile Therapy Centers provides FREE screenings/consultations so why not take advantage of the opportunity to have your child seen by a professional and answer any questions you may have? To learn more, please visit our website and don’t hesitate to contact us to speak with one of our therapists.
Mobile Therapy Centers is a Multidisciplinary Clinic specializing in ABA Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Feeding Therapy, Pediatric Physical Therapy and Counseling. We see children at our clinics in Illinois and Tennessee, at your home or at your child’s school/daycare making it convenient for you and your family.