Autism Acceptance

    On April 1, 2024 President Biden issued the following proclamation that April 2, 2024 be called World Autism Acceptance Day (A Proclamation on World Autism Acceptance Day, 2024 | The White House).  The proclamation shares a sobering statistic, “Some 5.4 million American adults and 1 in 36 children have been diagnosed with autism.”  What does that mean?  It means that autism is something that can’t be ignored. Most Americans, have a child, are related to a child or know a child on the spectrum.  Therefore, we need to enhance our perspectives as educators, health care providers, public servants, family members, neighbors… and accept

               How? How do we do that? There is no easy answer but there is a fundamental ideology that we can all practice - the Golden Rule - “treat others as you would wish to be treated.”  Which brings me to a book that I think can really help people understand and relate to those on the spectrum – Uniquely Human A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant, PHD.  I have given copies of this book to doctors, therapists and teachers who may need to learn a different point of view when treating/teaching my child.  Also, because I understand that these people don’t have a lot of time, I suggest that they at least take a look at Ch 7 – “What It Takes to Get It” – in my copy of the book on page 139 (there are newer copies and editions published since mine so your page number may be different), it lists characteristics of people who connect with and accept kids on the spectrum.  These characteristics include empathy, the human factor, sensitivity, shared control, humor, trust and flexibility. 

               My favorite is, shared control. They don’t feel a need to exert control over a person with autism (Prizant, 140). I think that this is a big one that is overlooked especially by doctors, therapists and educators.  Teachers/therapists see their role as pushing a certain agenda or structure to keep the person with autism within certain bounds of behavior”, Prizant pg 140.  In my opinion, people who understand shared control also understand what Temple Grandin means when she says “Different not less.” This concept is so important because everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

               Since I have read this book, there is new updated and expanded version and podcast that you can listen to, Uniquely Human | Dr. Barry M. Prizant (

Works Cited

Prizant, B. M., & Fields-Meyer, T. (2015). Uniquely human: A different way of seeing autism. Simon & Schuster.