Autism is a development disorder which is prevalent in around 0.2 percent of the population of the country. People suffering from autism experience problems with communication or social interaction, or may even indulge in repetitive behavior. This can have a devastating effect on their lives as they may find it a bit difficult to make friends. But life can be made much easier for these people by creating awareness among non-autistic people about the disorder. Non-autistic people need to be made aware so that they look upon autistic people as individuals, and are encouraged to cultivate friendships with them.
Efforts are already being made to achieve this by organizing events like Autistic Pride Day, a global event celebrated in the month of June every year. The annual event is observed on June 18 and the main aim of Autistic Pride Day is to raise awareness about autism, and to create pride among those who have this condition.
The first Autistic Pride Day was held on June 18, 2005. The event was organized by Aspies For Freedom, a solidarity campaign group in Brazil. Since June 18 happened to be the birthday of AFF’s youngest member, it was chosen as the day on which the event would be held every year. Modelled on the gay pride movement, the World Autistic Pride Day is extremely significant because the event is led entirely by autistic people and not charities. The day is celebrated around the world and many events are organized where non-autistic people are made aware of autism, and the fact that these people are unique individuals who are an integral part of society.
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) involves a broad range of conditions such as challenges in communication and social interaction, repetitive behavior and speech and nonverbal communications. However, this does not mean that people with autism are looked down up on, discriminated against, pitied or pushed towards self-treatment. What is needed is to cultivate friendship, treat them with dignity, and instill a sense of pride in these people. Autistic spectrum disorder becomes visible in children at an early age and usually lasts during the entire lifetime of the person. Rather than treating it as a disease, parents and the society should adopt interventions which can help these people function independently and confidently. Organizations and hospitals that help people overcome autism and other disorders also need to ensure that they have trained staff and superior medical equipment.
Autistic Pride Day is symbolized by a rainbow infinity sign which goes on to represent the diversity of autistic people and the unlimited possibilities within their community.
As we combat the stigma that autism carries with it, we need more and more people to recognize the strengths and hidden talents of autistic individuals and help them develop the required behavioral, social, and language skills according to their needs. So on this Autistic Pride Day, let’s work together to make this world a better place for everyone and take pride in the beautiful autistic souls that are a part of our society.