Beyond the blue light

April is Autism Awareness Month. In these first days of the month, we have been flooded with autism awareness campaigns, fundraisers and stories of inspiration and hope. We have seen famous landmarks and local buildings illuminated in blue light, and a number of businesses and brands are taking advantage of this marketing opportunity in support of autism awareness.

Autism has been widely recognized as a social disability since the 1980s. And with the recent statistics indicating 1 in 68 children are identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it might be time to move past the idea of awareness. It’s time for acceptance and action.

It’s not enough just to be aware. Taking action to support individuals with autism and their families means generating a greater understanding and knowledge of autism. It means advocating for public policies that support children and adults with autism. It means changing the way we look at disability. And it means working together to challenge misconceptions and outdated ideas.

One in 68 children will grow up to be adults with autism. The shift from awareness to action needs to happen now. Moving toward acceptance means better support for individuals and families that live autism every day, not just in April.