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Oh bloody hell, it's nearly April again. That means it's World Autism [Understanding/Acceptance/Awareness] [Day/Week/Month]. #WAUW/#WAAD/#WAAW/#WAAM for short.

I thought I'd share some tips from an #ActuallyAutistic perspective on how to make this less like protracted torture...
* Puzzle pieces suggest incompleteness and mystery. They're dehumanising. Stop using them.
* 80-95% of autistic people prefer identity-first language: hence #ActuallyAutistic, not #ActuallyWithAutism. Google why if you don't know.
* Autism Speaks is an American hate organisation.
* Many autistic people are in fact quite inspiring, on account of being brilliant, but please don't call us (or any disabled person) inspirational. Be aware that this kind of language may be intended as a compliment, but is usually received as an insult.

* Listen to #ActuallyAutistic people. Share our writing. Amplify our voices. Exercise a little humility if we tell you what you're saying and doing is ill-informed or offensive.
* Many of us find April exhausting, for all of the reasons above. It can be hard to tune out. Be kind.
* If you are #ActuallyAutistic yourself, I encourage you to ration your outrage. Yes - loads of people are going to be saying and sharing really stupid and troubling things. Your peers don't necessarily want to hear about every single offence. Things are crap, but getting better.
* None of the big UK charities are autistic-led. None of them represent autistic people. If you know of any that have #ActuallyAutistic people in *any* leadership position, please let me know - it would be delightful news! Perhaps you can find autistic-run organisations near you.
* If you want to help autistic people, the big charities are probably not your best bet (especially not NAS, in the wake of their appalling mishandling and minimisation of the #MendipHouse abuse scandal - they do have some good people, and some good campaigns, but deep problems).
* 'Light It Up Blue' is a massive publicity stunt and fundraising exercise for Autism Speaks (who are, as I mentioned, an American hate organisation, cunningly disguised as a charity). If you want to be helpful, check whether any local monuments etc. are partaking, and stop them.
* I might just mute all the autistic groups I'm in and try to spend less time on Twitter, because the endless tide of people enthusiastically getting it wrong every April is so sad & tiring to witness.
* It's okay to step back. Look after your mental health. The fight will go on.
* It's not all bad! Every April the proportion of really awful '#AutismAwareness' stuff seems to go down; the amount of good stuff from #ActuallyAutistic people and real allies goes up.
* It's an agonisingly slow process, but more people are actually listening to autistic people.
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