An overview of Autistic Pride Day for teachers
Marked annually on 18th June, Autistic Pride Day looks to celebrate the positive characteristics of those with autism and to alter viewpoints of the condition.
Teachers can help to shift attitudes with lesson discussion and learning tasks, guiding students to understand and empathise with autism.
Around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum, including both children and adults, meaning it impacts the daily lives of around 2.8 million people.
It is a neurological development disability which affects the development of the human brain, but as its symptoms and characteristics manifest themselves in different ways, autism is known as a spectrum disorder and those suffering from it will all be impacted differently.
Fundamentally, autism changes the way that people experience the world around them, influencing social interaction and how they communicate.
Some individuals can learn and live independently with the condition, while others may require life-long support.
What is Autistic Pride Day?
Autistic Pride Day was initially marked by the online community Aspies for Freedom in 2005, but it has now become a global celebration marked annually.
Inspired by LGBT pride events, it is designed to recognise the important role that pride plays for autistic people, while also helping to drive positive societal changes for those with the condition.
Key to this is recognising that those on the autism spectrum have unique characteristics that should be celebrated, rather than viewed negatively.
Importantly, the day is not run by charities or businesses, but by those with autism, helping to promote awareness and autonomy.
Teachers can play a pivotal role too, especially if children on the autism spectrum are part of their class.
Not only does it provide an opportunity for teaching staff to raise awareness of the conditions associated with the spectrum, but it also provides a chance to shape viewpoints and to create more inclusive learning environments, which will ultimately benefit everyone in the classroom.
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