April is “Autism Acceptance Month,” in honor of our students who are autistic; we want to share with you about Tiffany.

“My name is Tiffany, and I am autistic. If someone didn’t know much about autism and wanted to understand, I would tell them that I am an ordinary person who wants to be treated just like everyone else. I am a pretty happy person, I do the best I can at Pathways, in friendships, and I love to have a great time. During my free time, I enjoy playing sports, watching hiking videos, reading books, dancing, singing, and listening to music.” -Tiffany, Pathways student

Sheila, Tiffany’s mom tells us, “As a parent to an autistic daughter, I would say that you have to get to know her and you will love her. She is a giving person, and to me, she is just like you and me.” When asked how the community could help families like theirs, Sheila suggested that if you ever notice someone like Tiffany alone, to look out for them, stand up for them, and help keep them safe.

The “acceptance” in Autism Acceptance Month has historically been the word “awareness,” but autistic self-advocates have been pushing for this change for some time. The CEO of the Autism Society, Christopher Banks, says of this change that “It’s not enough to know that someone has autism, we need to accept and push for inclusion so that individuals can fully participate in our social fabric.” You can read more about this call for federal designation of the month to be focused on acceptance at Disability Scoop. When Tiffany describes herself as ordinary, she’s expressing her desire to be accepted for who she is. We hope you’ll join everyone at Pathways in advocating for autism acceptance this month, and every month!