How to Cope with Autism Awareness Month


Handling Negativity

  1. Avoid people and organizations that participate in negative "light it up blue" and awareness campaigns.If your local sorority supports Autism Speaks, don't spend time there. If you get upset passing the blue lights in a store, go to a different aisle or store.
    • Blacklist tags such as #autism, #lightitupblue, #liub, #autismspeaks, and others.
    • Some people choose to boycott groups that support Autism Speaks, such as Dollar General, Lindt, Toys R Us, and more.
  2. Be mindful when reading from the autistic community.Seeing people support Autism Speaks can be exhausting, and so can seeing people describe and dissect its every hurtful move. You may feel anxious simply from seeing so many mentions of it. Before entering or observing a discussion about autism awareness, ask yourself:
    • How much energy do I have?
    • How stressed am I right now? Can I take additional stress?
    • What am I doing after this? (You should not be reading upsetting content right before bedtime or before an exam.)
    • Am I prepared for seeing dehumanizing remarks repeated and discussed?
    • Are there trigger warnings? What about? Is it described as "possibly upsetting," "extremely disturbing," or somewhere in between?
  3. Fight back against bigotry in your own way.It doesn't need to be big: posting a sticker of protest on an Autism Awareness ad,sarcastically commenting on a hurtful post, or posting positive/critical flyers next to negative posters. Doing something small can help you feel that you've made a difference, and encouraged people to think critically about what they read.
    • Don't waste time arguing with people who don't care what you have to say. You won't change their mind.
    • Remember, some people genuinely don't know what they're supporting.People might post puzzle pieces on their blogs without having any idea what it represents.
  4. Only involve yourself in activism that you can handle.You may find it empowering and helpful to fight negative messaging for the sake of all autistic people. However, it can also turn draining and depressing. You can't single-handedly turn the world into a safe place, nor should you try to. Your first duty is to yourself, so put your mental health first.
    • Consider focusing on spreading positive messages, as opposed to engaging with negative ones, if you are concerned about your mental health.
    • A drained activist is not an effective activist. If you push yourself beyond your limits, you aren't helping anyone. Take a break for a day or two, then see how you feel.
    • Take it one step at a time. Don't shackle yourself to a large project; only participate if and when you are emotionally strong enough.
  5. Give yourself time limits.Writing a blog post about fighting stigma? Promise to work on it for 30 minutes and then quit for the day. Wondering how to educate a family member who is lighting it up blue? Schedule a "brainstorming time" to deal with it, perhaps with the help of a supportive friend. Each time you catch your thoughts drifting back to the subject, stop yourself. You will deal with it during the brainstorming time, and no other time.
  6. Disengage if you start feeling uncomfortable.You are under no obligation to keep educating yourself or others if it is impacting your mental health. You can always come back when you feel calmer (if ever).
    • If a friend brings up ableism, use a script like "I appreciate that you want to discuss this with me. I'm a bit overwhelmed right now, so it's not a good time. Let's talk about something happier."

Practicing Autism Acceptance

Accepting yourself for who you are can boost your self-esteem and remind yourself that you aren't the burden you're made out to be.

  1. Involve yourself in autism acceptance events and positive groups.Insecurity during April is very common for autistic people, so the autistic community often holds events to help everyone stay positive. Look for...
    • Flashblogs
    • Give aways
    • Memes and hashtags like #RedInstead (formerly #WalkInRed)
    • Art events
    • Outreach opportunities to educate others
  2. Do something fun with your autistic friends.Enjoy a fun outing, catch up with each other, or just sit and watch movies about things you love together.
    • If all your autistic friends are online, that's okay. Message them and catch up with each other.
    • If you have no autistic friends, look for disability or autism clubs and support groups in person, and the hashtags #askanautistic and #actuallyautistic, where you can join conversations.
  3. Look for the beauty in autism.Appreciate your autistic strengths, which may include focus, special interests, pattern recognition, passion, and creativity. Try making a list of your talents (autism-related and otherwise).
  4. Look for positive depictions of autism.Balance out the dehumanization of autism with media that celebrates and reassures autistic people.
    • Look at autistic art, especially pictures of people stimming.
    • Read autism positivity blogs.
    • Look through WikiHow's autism category and the illustrations of happy autistic people.
    • Read other people's autistic headcanons.
    • Create your own material.
  5. Show your autistic pride.Wear shirts with neurodiversity messages, stim in public, and wear red for #RedInstead.This can affirm your self-worth and send out positive messages to the public. Make your goal this April to care less about what other people think of you.
    • If you don't feel comfortable outing yourself, you can always say that it's for an autistic person you love (i.e., you).

Maintaining Self Care

  1. Spend extra time on your special interests and favorite things.Your passions have the power to restore your energy and make you happy.
  2. Treat your body well.Good physical health supports your mental health. Set aside some "me time" each day.Spend extra time this month caring for your body and treating it well.
    • Get enough sleep. Try to avoid screens or use f.lux in the evening.
    • Eat your favorite foods from a variety of food groups.
    • Spend time relaxing each day.
    • Make a doctor appointment if you are having problems with your physical or mental health.
  3. Get moving.Activity can release endorphins in your brain, making you feel happier. (It's also good for your health.) Some examples of good activities include:
    • Dancing to your favorite music
    • Whole-body stimming (spinning, walking in circles, swinging, bouncing)
    • Swimming
    • Taking a walk with a loved one, or wandering on your own
    • Biking
    • Organizing your yard, garage, room, etc.
  4. Make a rainy day box.Store positive messages that other people have written or said about you, and put them in a box. When you feel like a burden, look through the contents of the box. Consider...
    • Nice notes others have written for you
    • Good things they've said (write these down and add them to the box)
    • Emails, texts, and social media messages (print them or copy them down)
    • Asking close loved ones to contribute to the box; offer to do the same for them
  5. Do activities that are meaningful to you.Helping others, and working on projects that make you feel motivated and productive, can boost your mood. Consider projects like...
    • Improving wikiHow articles about your special interest
    • Taking an online course about your favorite subject
    • Helping out a loved one
    • Volunteering for a cause you care about
  6. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.Consider your family, friends (autistic and otherwise), neighbors, mentors, et cetera. Whom can you be yourself around without any worries of judgment? Spend some extra time with those people, and thank them for being there for you.

Managing Negative Thinking

  1. Treat yourself like a friend.Each time you think a bad thought about yourself, stop to consider it. Would you talk to an autistic friend that way? Would you be okay with someone saying this out loud? If not, consider what kind words and advice you would give to a friend who had been told the same thing you told yourself. Then apply it to yourself.
  2. Use relaxation exercises to calm yourself when you're stressed.If you notice yourself falling into anxiety or a guilt spiral , stop. Do one or two relaxation exercises. Then try to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings, without placing value judgments on yourself or trying to read other people's minds.
  3. Allow yourself to be sad sometimes.Repressing negative feelings won't help you. It's okay to feel down when people are saying awful things about you and your community, and when others are supporting the group that does this. Give yourself time to process your pain, instead of pushing it to the side and letting it bottle up.
  4. Talk to a supportive loved one about your feelings.If you're routinely feeling upset or down about yourself, tell someone you trust. You aren't being selfish by sharing your sadness; in fact, other people can usually tell that you're unhappy, and would rather have you open up to them than keep wondering and worrying about what's wrong. You deserve support, and you are not a burden.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What do I do when people talk about their high support autistic children and how difficult it is? Am I being unfair to them for standing up against curebies and not wanting to be "cured" of my autism?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You are not being selfish or unfair. Read the words of high-support autistic writers, like Mel Baggs and Amy Sequenzia. They are part of the movement and want many of the same things (respect, an end to compliance therapy, research focused on assistance instead of birth prevention, etc). Parenting is hard, full stop. The world can support parents while treating the children with dignity. You can't speak for those with needs different from yours, but you can amplify their voices, advocate for kindness towards them, and speak for yourself. You aren't bad. Ableism is.
  • Question
    The media is all about the autistic kids and it's like we autistic adults become invisible when we turn 20. How can I get people to realize autistic kids become autistic adults and should be treated just as fairly?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
  • Question
    How do I cope with being an autistic girl?
    Top Answerer
    It is OK if you are slow sometimes, and there are things you can't do. Everyone has weaknesses, whether it's math, driving or being a terrible dancer. Being autistic also has really cool parts, and you have a lot of talents of which you should be proud. Don't fixate on your weaknesses. Make adaptations, and stop pushing yourself to do things that are too hard. Find your priorities, and stop putting up with things that are painful. Check out How to Accept Your Autism for more advice.
  • Question
    My middle school hosts a "Light it Up Blue" day every year as part of a "21 Days of Kindness" thing they do. How do I deal with going to school on that day?
    Top Answerer
    Talk to your school guidance counselor about your feelings, and how it affects you. Write a letter, if it helps. (The guidance counselor may want to show the letter to other people.) Print off an article explaining what is wrong with Autism Speaks, such as ASAN's joint letter about Autism Speaks (available to read online). Explain that it makes you feel unwelcome and unwanted when the school supports an organization dedicated to bullying and trying to get rid of people like you. It's a tough situation and I'm sorry that you have to deal with it. The school may change it once they learn. If they refuse, consider talking to the counselor about skipping school that day for your mental health.
  • Question
    A lot of negative things said about autism are from other autistic people themselves. They say they want to be cured and be "normal." How can I cope with it while telling them otherwise?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
  • Question
    How can I handle all the emotional stress of Autism Awareness Month if everyone I try to talk to believes in the negative stereotypes and refuses to take me seriously?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Be sure to keep yourself as calm as possible. Some people will always be ignorant when it comes to negative stereotypes about autism. If these people don't believe you, they're not worth your time. Emotional stress can be pretty tough to handle during times like Autism Awareness Month. Do your best to stand by Autism Acceptance (if that's what you support), and keep a distance from negative people who won't believe anything contrary to what they think.
  • Question
    How do I meet other autistics?
    Top Answerer
    Online, look for hashtags like #ActuallyAutistic, #REDinstead, and #AskAnAutistic. The online Autistic community is large and flourishing, and it's full of kind people. In person, look for clubs and organizations related to autism or disability. There are often resource groups dedicated to helping people with different disabilities have fun and succeed in life, and they can be great places to make new friends.
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Date: 13.12.2018, 23:33 / Views: 33443