While World Autism Month Ends, Our Work Continues

a bunch of boxes in the shape of a heart, some of the boxes contain photos of the people quoted in this blog, the others are filled with either red, blue, or green
Tatum Shiff, Content and Marketing Coordinator, Autism Ontario

As World Autism Month comes to an end, we want to thank everyone who helped us rally together to increase understanding, acceptance, and celebration of people on the autism spectrum, foster support, and inspire a more inclusive world. Thank you also for sharing your photos and videos with us; we were so inspired by the variety of flag-raising ceremonies you organized around the province! We are also grateful to the many businesses, small and large, who raised money for Autism Ontario this month and to every individual person who made a donation. You are all making a difference.

While World Autism Month will be ending later this week, our commitment to helping all autistic people and their families have access to meaningful supports, information, and connections so they are equitably and seamless supported throughout the life course continues. In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be a need for one month or day to focus on this work because the systemic and societal barriers that autistic people face wouldn’t exist. To get to that world, we need to continue advocating for autistic people and their families to have the respect and supports they deserve to live their best lives.

There has been a tendency in the autism community to focus on the voices of family members and professionals when planning programs and creating policy. We hold ourselves accountable and are taking steps to improve through direct communication with autistic people, raising more money for adult supports and programming, and through boosting autistic voices on this blog, among other things. Today we are proud to present all of the autistic submissions to our “What Does Autism Mean to You?” project in full. Please watch, listen, and reflect.

Ashlee Dag
A drawing of a minion, words on the page written below

To the CDC, we are 1 in 66. To our families, we are 1 in a "minion!"

Autism means strength, courage, different viewpoints, interests, support workers, programs, camps

Caitlyn Rendell
A woman with red hair wearing glasses and a bowler hat with steampunk goggles on them with words that are written below

We are not broken. We are not puzzles that need to be solved. We are an infinite fountain of unique beauty.

Carl Parker
Chris McConnell
Courtney Weaver
Rainbow text on a white background says what's written below. There's a picture of Courtney Weaver holding her arms up triumphantly in the middle of the page

What Autism Awareness Day and Month Mean to Me

Autism Awareness Day and Month Means:

1. Au-thenticity

2. Au-someness

3. Au-inspiring

Courtney Weaver, Autistic writer and self-advocate, Aspergirl 

Jean-Luc Martel
Lauren Pearson
Maya
Michael Tanzer

What does Autism mean to you?

Well for starters, Autism really is just a word. Some people use it to explain certain things about a person who appears different or use it as a label to help better understand a person. Though I do think there is some truth to that, we need to keep in mind that in fact it is just a word. It really depends on a person’ own opinion of that word. And the truth is: I have my own POV on Autism.

For me, Autism means a blessing and I feel lucky to have it. I must admit that I did not always think this, especially if I was having a hard day. Having Autism made me who I am. I am a person with many talents, strengths and interests because of my Autism. I choose to focus on what I can do, instead of what I find difficult because of my Autism. (I even wrote a book and my blog) My name is Michael Tanzer, I have brown hair, hazel eyes, I wear glasses, I taught myself to read and speak Japanese, I love South Park, and J-Pop music, oh and I have Autism. As you can see, the Autism is just one small part of me, yet it is one that I am proud of.

Ryan Barkley
Ryan Rumsey

Autism means to me that I have the privilege of being part of a community with people I can share & learn & grow with who are all different but share similar understandings of struggle, determination & resilience. We are a people who are connected BY our differences, and because of our spectrum, are the most unique group of human beings on our planet. I love us. <3

To everyone who submitted a video, thank you. If you want to tell us what autism means to you, you still can! We’re leaving the submission form open indefinitely because we always want to hear from you. Submit your videos, writing, audio clips, or photographs here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AutismDay2021

We’re also looking for more autistic content for the blog! Please send an email to info@autismontario.com if you’re interested in contributing.