Happy Autism Acceptance Month! April can be a difficult time for autistic people. We celebrate our community, at the same time as we fight stigma and (be)wareness campaigns. To us, autism acceptance is not just a phrase: it's a call to action. It requires a shift in thinking and strong opposition against ableism, eugenics in all its forms, harmful "treatments" of autism, and segregation.
Acceptance and inclusion of all autistics also requires disability justice. We cannot work towards our collective liberation without addressing dehumanization and injustice faced by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour), women, 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual/aromatic) people, religious minorities, people in poverty, people facing homelessness, incarcerated people, vulnerable workers including sex workers, and migrants and refugees. We oppose the rise of policing in light of COVID-19, the racist and ableist policies affecting healthcare access, and institutions and systems that put profit over people.
As Canada is in the third wave of the pandemic, we also encourage our members to get vaccinated if they are eligible. Autistics United Canada supports the science of vaccination and objects to misinformation about vaccines, particularly fearmongering about the non-existent link to autism. To learn more about how to get vaccinated, visit the information page for your province or territory.
[Image description: yellow text against teal background. Text reads "Neurodivergent hangouts online
board games & chat!
Yellow stars in the top right corner and the Autistics United Canada logo of eight interlocking infinity symbols in a rainbow of colours in the bottom left]
We are once again holding an online neurodivergent hangout via Zoom this Sunday, April 25th! The hangout is one hour later than usual.
Time: 4-6 PM PST / 5-7 PM MST / 6-8 PM CST / 7-9 PM EST / 8-10 PM AST
RSVP here: https://forms.gle/4a6FXZ1s8aGC2X5F9
We are in the process of booking ASL interpretation and CART (live captioning). Please RSVP by Friday, April 23 at 3 pm PT / 6 pm ET to request CART or ASL interpretation.
For upcoming hangouts, please continue to check our Facebook events page for updates.
CAHS Community Conversations & Engagement Hub
The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) is an independent, third-party organization assigned by the Public Health Agency of Canada to carry out an assessment on autism supports nation-wide.
There are 2 ways for you to share your opinion and shape policy affecting autistics in Canada:
1) Join online community conversations
Happening in April and May, starting tomorrow.
There are Zoom meetings for each province/territory and for individual groups like LGBTQ+ autistics, BIPOC, AAC users, autistic parents, autistic women, newcomers/immigrants, young autistic adults, and autistic seniors.
Learn more here
You can sign up for more than one session, but you need to register first.
We have participated in the CAHS survey as a stakeholder organization. Another autistic-led organization, Autistics for Autistics Ontario, has also released a series of reports, which you can read here.
2) Share your views in the online Engagement hub
Open until May 31st.
When you visit the Engagement Hub website, you can:
Autistics United Canada's #AskingAutistics about National Autism & Disability Policy Survey
[Image description: text in a red box reading "What changes do you want to see in Canada to improve autistic lives? bit.ly/AskingAutisticsCanada Quels changements souhaitez-vous voir au Canada pour améliorer la vie des autistes? "]
We have our own survey asking autistics about their thoughts on what is needed to help autistic and otherwise disabled people in Canada. This will inform our ongoing advocacy and help us communicate our community's needs to the government. Our goal is to focus on what autistic people themselves are saying.
It is still open! We will collect responses until June.
The survey takes around 15 minutes. It is available:
Please help us spread the word about the survey!
You can share our Facebook and Twitter posts.
We are building capacity as a group by holding a series of volunteer trainings for autistic members. Our first two workshops happened in March and the next two are coming up this weekend.
If you are still interested in joining the training, please email us at info@AutisticsUnitedCA.org to let us know! We have recordings for the first two workshops and can share them with you if you would still like to join the training.
Disabled Elders Fund
Disabled activists Dustin Gibson and Talila Lewis have organized a Disabled Elders Fund, giving 10 or more recipients up to $1,000 each.
Donate to the fund here.
Autistics United Canada in the News
Autistics United Canada organizers from BC and Nova Scotia were recently interviewed about Autism Acceptance Month and race and gender in autism representation. The CBC radio segment was not captioned, so we have made a transcript ourselves that you can read here.
That is all for now! Please stay safe and keep supporting one another, and get vaccinated if you can!
Autistics United Canada organizing team