Autistic Pride Day - 18th June
Posted by Francis Whitehead on June 17, 2023
The 18th of June is Autistic Pride Day, which was first celebrated in 2005 by the organisation Aspies for Freedom (AFF), all in the name of autistic people themselves taking pride in who they are and the condition they live with.
The day was created after comments were made about autism being dubbed a disease that needed to be “cured” rather than embraced.
Its secondary purpose is to help neurotypical people see life through the eyes of an autistic person and celebrate the things that make us different. Ultimately, it is a day of celebration and looking past what makes us different.
How can autism affect someone?
Autism is a broad spectrum and can affect someone in many different ways, but is mainly characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive speech and thought patterns, hypersensitivity and extensive or restricted interests.
For example, an autistic person may only want to eat the same meal every day and be resistant to a change in their routine.
Or maybe they may need ear protection out in public spaces to help block out overstimulating noise. Those who are severely affected by autism, and are higher up on the spectrum, may not be able to communicate at all.
The NHS states “Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It means your brain works in a different way from other people.”
At the end of the day, those with autism can be high-functioning and integrate into society just like a neurotypical person can.
However, they can find it a challenge to seek comfort in easing their symptoms, especially when they are surrounded by a community that’s unsupportive or not understanding of what makes them different.
This is why it’s important to not be judgemental of another person’s interests or habits, as you might just find a friend for life.
Autism as a “superpower” in daily life
Because autism is a spectrum, it can strengthen some areas of brain function but weaken others.
For example, any mathematical genius or a literary artiste can have autism, being intellectually gifted but not be fulfilled socially.
Someone with autism may have a wealth of general knowledge at their disposal, but not be able to remember their friend’s birthday.
Others may be able to remember what you were wearing last Tuesday at 2:47PM. The hyperfocus and hyper fixation side of autism can be utilised in many amazing ways for a wealth of interests, be it music, computer coding, and anything in-between.
For a neurotypical person, knowing someone with autism can be an amazing thing indeed.
For example, one of my best friends at school had ASD and he was regarded as a fantastic impressionist, being able to replicate a vault of quotes from film and TV effortlessly, which resulted in a lot of laughs.
This is actually a symptom called echolalia, where you repeat words heard from elsewhere.
According to Verywell, “use of echolalia speech patterns is meant as a calming strategy. The repetition helps an autistic child cope with overwhelming sensory challenges.”
It is easy to be overwhelmed and overstimulated in all senses when you have autism, whether that be bright lights, loud and sudden noises or sounds overlapping, and not being able to self-soothe when this strikes can make things worse.
If you know anyone with autism in your life, you’ll be glad to know that we have a range of sensory aids in stock. For example, the Fidget Time Fun Kit is a collection of 13 different sensory therapy aids that someone can keep with them to soothe and calm overstimulation.
This next item is a perfect gift for their home and can be a fantastic addition to their bedroom, the Himalayan Salt Lamp, crafted from Pink Himalayan rock salt from over 200 million years ago.
It emits a warm, relaxing glow and counteracts negative ions, eliminating stress and headaches. This disability aid, when used regularly, is said to be beneficial to their health and well-being.
Taking Pride in Autism
If an autistic person is put in an unsupportive environment, be it at school, home, or work, they can feel alone, outcasted, or feel deeply upset about who they are and the condition that affects their life on a daily basis.
Often, they struggle to make and keep friends, especially in childhood. Even in adult life, some autistic people may even take to “masking” their symptoms, which is essentially mirroring those around them to act as otherwise “normal” and neurotypical as possible, which can take a lot of stress and effort.
This is why it’s of great importance to let those with autism have the freedom to be themselves with no judgment, and most importantly, be happy within themselves.
We at Ability Superstore believe that all autistic people should take pride in who they are every day of the year and that autism isn’t something that should be cured, but embraced and welcomed.
Get In Touch
Do you know anyone with autism and would like to show your appreciation for them? Or maybe you’d like to inquire how you can further support them? Ability Superstore would love to hear!
Do let us know and get in touch with your story and how you will be showing your support on this year’s Autistic Pride Day.