Every year, organisations from across the globe celebrate Autistic Pride Day on June 18 with a variety of events. The aim of this day is to raise awareness amongst those who are not on the autistic spectrum disorder so they do not see autistic people as requiring treatment, but as unique individuals.
This annual event was first celebrated by Aspies for Freedom in 2005 and they modelled Autistic Pride Day on the gay pride movement. One of the most significant aspects of the day is that it is not run by charities; it is run by autistic people themselves. Since its beginnings, Autistic Pride Day has been a community event and not a day for other organisations to promote themselves by stifling autistic people. It is now a global celebration that takes place predominantly online.
Autistic Pride Day is represented by the rainbow infinity symbol. This symbol is intended to represent the diversity of autistic people and the infinite possibilities and variations within the autistic community.
According to representatives of Autistic Pride Day, people with autism have unique characteristics that provide them with both rewards and challenges. Although many of the difficulties they face are because of their neurodiversity, another factor is issues in society. For example, society’s attitude towards autism is often one of pity or a belief that it is a condition requiring treatment.
Activists want to shift attitudes away from this and towards acceptance and the realisation that autism is a difference rather than a disability.