5 Practical Ways To Raise Better Awareness For Autism
By Space Coast Daily // November 21, 2021
The world has come a long way in raising awareness about autism. More and more movements and organizations that support autism awareness are evident and active these days.
What’s unfortunate, however, is the increasing misinformation about the condition growing along with the awareness about the disorder. There’s still a lot of absurd and outdated information in society today, and the world needs more people to help raise awareness about this condition.
So, if you’ve been meaning to find more ways to raise autism awareness, here are five ways you can do so:
■ Learn More About Autism
One of the most important ways to raise awareness for autism is to learn about it. Becoming an ally of this community is to help normalize how to positively react to the behavior of neurodivergent people and support the movement toward demystifying the misconceptions about them.
Familiarizing yourself with the spectrum, the people who have autism, and their needs means creating more opportunities for them. Developing a deeper understanding about their needs and wants enable you to come up with life-enriching programs that will address what they need in navigating the advanced stages in their lives. Helping them navigate their career or housing options, for example, are just some of the things one can do to make them feel seen and part of society.
■ Spend Time With Them
Nothing beats spending your time with people on the spectrum and their families. Reading about their stories is one thing; interacting with them in person is a whole different experience.
Meeting someone who’s neurodiverse and hearing them tell their stories and experiences from their own perspectives let you see their abilities instead of their disabilities. Aside from seeing life from their perspective, there are a lot of life lessons you can learn from them.
■ Donate What You Can
Another excellent way to raise awareness for autism is to donate to charities, organizations, and networks that support people with this condition. Not everyone can donate money, and that’s fine. It’ll also mean a lot in empowering people on the spectrum and their communities if you give them what you can, like time or other resources. Fundraisers like bake sales, auctions, and raffle-style charities are just some ways to become involved.
A lot of organizations that support raising autism awareness already exist nationwide and internationally. If, however, you prefer to start somewhere nearer to your home, there are already networks of affiliates and groups in various states and towns all over the country. It’s just a matter of finding and connecting with them.
■ Participate In Programs
Connecting with groups that advocate for autism awareness is an excellent way to participate. These communities usually have programs wherein they train people with autism the skills they need to transition to higher levels of education or work.
There are a lot of programs you can join locally or internationally as a participant or volunteer. Local organizations, schools, hospitals, or even some law enforcement communities invite different kinds of people for local bake sale, walk for a cause, golf tour, ride for a cause, vocational work support, transition to adulthood, or social and life skills programs. If you happen to be in New York, you may hop over here to know more details on one of the rides for a cause for autism awareness that take place there annually.
International programs may include wearing blue every second of April to honor the World Autism Awareness Day, or participating in online programs or those organized by various local partners and affiliates.
■ Use Social Media
Almost everyone is on social media these days, and these platforms are great avenues to spread awareness for autism. Sharing posts about the spectrum, showing support to people with the said disorder, and starting conversations online are just some of the ways you can do to help spread awareness.
A lot of creators who make content for neurodiverse people and their advocacies have fueled more fire in raising acceptance and awareness about this condition. It’s so easy to find videos and articles online that inspire, encourage, and support people with autism.
Social media has also become a bridge for strangers to show encouragement or support to neurodivergent people and their communities. These days, one post can make a lot of difference in making more people understand how neurodivergent people think, interact, and see the world.
Living with autism or with someone on the spectrum is already a challenging feat. Their unique needs aren’t that difficult to address; it’s just that more people need to be aware. The last thing anyone should do is subject neurodivergent people to stereotypes that negatively affect their growth and development as members of society. To be an ally of the people on the spectrum means arming yourself with factual information to help you relate to them, and make them feel normal and understood.