Autism acceptance month 2021, why the switch?

Autism acceptance month 2021, why the switch?

The fourteenth annual World Autism Awareness Day was April 2, 2021. So why the shift from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month?

Christopher Banks, President, and CEO of the Autism Society of America put it like this: “While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life.

As many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.” The shift in terminology fosters acceptance to ignite change through improved support and opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care, and comprehensive long-term services.

Acceptance is so integral that the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has been referring to April as Autism Acceptance Month since 2011, expressing that accepting autism as a natural condition is “necessary for real dialogue to occur.” The Autism Society of America is also advocating the federal government to officially designate April as “Autism Acceptance Month” since there has never been a formal designation for AAM.

The United Nations has, however, designated April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day that is commemorated internationally. This year, the UN plans on hosting a virtual panel discussion titled “Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World” on April 8, 2021. The panel will consist of individuals on the autism spectrum who have personally experienced challenges in the employment market, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.


April 27, 2021, at 7:00 pm

Online Event

There is a multitude of ways to connect the arts to individuals on the Autism spectrum, and many exciting regional companies and artists creating this work. A chance to gather and share joy and resources, this roundtable brings together artists, parents, educators, and more for a discussion (and celebration!) of the exciting work underway. They will also explore how theater, dance, fine art, and other art forms can be especially meaningful for individuals on the spectrum as well as their loved ones.

Featured in this roundtable are Education and Community Engagement Manager Amanda Espinoza, parent and founder of The Calm Within the Chaos Jane Kleiman, and Bluelaces Theater Company Co-Artistic Director Devin Fletcher. This discussion is open to parents, teachers, artists, and more. Participants will be encouraged to share what art has brought them joy, and what they’ve found to be particularly engaging in their families or classrooms.


April 21, 2021, at 11:00, am

Online Event

Join teaching artist and actor Amanda Butterbaugh as she shares Sally J. Pla’s tender story about siblings. Nothing seems to be going right for Sammy and when he gets home from school, he finds his autistic little brother Benji is having a bad day too. On days like this, Benji has a special playbox where he goes to feel cozy and safe. Sammy doesn’t have a special place, and he’s convinced no one cares how he feels or even notices him. But somebody is noticing, and may just have an idea on how to help Sammy feel better. Recommended for ages 5-8.

UAB Magic Camp

June 1, 2021, at 12:00 pm – July 30, 2021, at 12:00 pm

Online Event


This is a FREE & VIRTUAL Summer Camp open to children ages 9-18 with a disability. In this three-week magic camp, children will spend approximately two hours a week learning tricks developed by illusionist, Kevin Spencer, & his HEALING OF MAGIC program. Each camper will have two UAB Occupational Therapy students assigned to them for the entire camp and they will meet virtually to learn magic tricks. The end of each camp will end in a streamed performance for friends and family!

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