Autistic Pride Day
annually on June 18th (since 2005)
Aspies For Freedom in 2005
Autistic Pride Day celebrates autistic identity, the neurodiversity of those on the autism spectrum, and the potential that they have to live fulfilling lives. A focus is on autism being a difference, not a disability. The day was started by Aspies for Freedom but is now celebrated by a wide amount of groups in the autistic community.
Led by autistic people, the day is celebrated online and with events across the world. Common events are picnics and autism walks. The days' symbol is the rainbow infinity symbol, which represents "diversity with infinite variations and infinite possibilities."
Autism usually appears before the age of 3. It impacts the development of the brain—affecting communication skills, cognitive function, and social interaction. It varies between people; everyone is different. About 40% of children with autism can't speak. Some children may learn some words, but lose them between the ages of a year and 18 months. Others may learn to speak but won't learn until late in childhood. Many with autism also suffer from other medical conditions at the same time, such as allergies, asthma, epilepsy, or sleeping disorders.
During the last twenty years, cases of autism have greatly increased. In the United States, one in 59 children now has autism. Over half of these children are classified as having an intellectual disability or borderline intellectual disability. Autism affects all races and socioeconomic groups at the same rate, but boys are four times more likely to have it than girls. Life expectancy isn't shorter specifically for having autism, but those who have it are much more likely to experience accidents, such as drowning, so their mortality rate is twice that of the general population. Autism can't be cured, but symptoms can be improved or overcome with early intervention and treatment.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by attending an Autistic Pride Day event, such as a walk or picnic. Perhaps you could attend an event with someone you know who has autism. You could also spend the day learning more about autism.