This month, April, is autism acceptance month. It is not autism awareness month. It is autism acceptance month because I am autistic and I know how it feels when people are aware of my autism, but do not accept it.

I have had comments such as, ‘Oh, I am on the spectrum too. Everyone is a bit autistic,’ and ‘Are you really?’

But so much more needs to be done.

We, autistic people, are real people. We are living and breathing, and we exist. Also, autistic girls and women exist. Sometimes, I feel not real because I am a ‘lost girl,’ because I rarely find other autistic girls or women. But that is changing slowly.

To be accepting of autism is to know that everyone that is autistic has different autistic characteristics or autistic expressions that make them who they are. Yet, I say autistic because I identify with being autistic, thus this blog post is written using that identity (although I respect other people’s ways of identifying if they identify differently).

To be accepting of autism is to accept my preference for how I identify. I had someone downright not use autistic person because this person did not agree that it was right, and according to her, I am a person with autism. My autism comes second after my identity because I am Suzanna first. And, I mean, yes, but also that is so wrong. People need to stop making assumptions, judgments, biases, and other unfair misinformation because it hurts autistic people. It hurts me.

During this month, please think about how you would be more accepting of autistic people. Think about how an autistic person’s mental health can be affected if they are disadvantaged due to ableist lies and other mistruths just because another person has a strong agenda.

Did you know that research in Australia and other countries* has indicated repeatedly that autistic people are more likely than non-autistic people to experience mental health conditions such as depression, and anxiety, and are more likely to self-harm and attempt suicide or to suicide? Did you know autistic people are more likely than non-autistic people to have a substance use disorder or issue, to have an eating disorder or issue, to even be under-employed or unemployed? Did you know that autistic people compared to non-autistic people are likely to have few or no friends?

And you know what is the sad part about all this? I have a lived experience of all these implications, and I am sure so many other autistic people can relate to this. This is the reality of being autistic and at a disadvantage, due to having a different neurotype, and partly it is because the world I live in does not accommodate my needs; my autistic-specific needs.

More work needs to be done to foster authentic and meaningful acceptance for autistic people. It can start with you. It starts with society understanding that we need more autism acceptance, not just this April, but every month. We need fewer autistic people self-harming, suiciding, ending up in mental health hospitals, and being traumatised and mistreated. We need respect, understanding, acceptance, and advocacy from ourselves and others, and most of all we need to be treated like human beings.

“Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. Sometimes it hurts, but when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. Once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always” (Williams, M., 1922)

– By Suzanna Poredos

A List Ambassador



Williams, M. (1922). The velveteen rabbit. George H. Doran Company.


*see Chapter 3 Life Outcomes for Autistic People by the Parliament of Australia

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