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Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month

APRIL 4, 2024

ALBANY, NY: Every April – Autism Acceptance Month – propels the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) to reaffirm its dedication to the acceptance and freedom of every Autistic person. The interconnectedness of Autism and mental health diagnoses – navigating systems that fail to meet our needs – underscores a vital truth: “I am not free until we are all free.” This month reminds us that the promise of life, liberty and freedom remains elusive for many, pushing us to transform this dream into reality for all.

Recognizing the complexities of navigating multiple systems, we reaffirm our commitment to making peer support accessible across systems because peer and family support are key to building resilience, fostering recovery, encouraging self-advocacy and enhancing community involvement. By connecting these systems, we establish stronger support networks, empowering individuals and their families on their journeys toward recovery and autonomy.

MHEP commends initiatives aimed at increasing the accessibility of community-based living for Autistic individuals. The promised reinvigoration of New York’s Olmstead Plan and the “Employment First” initiative are monumental steps toward ensuring that every person has the right and the opportunity to live, work and thrive in their communities. 

At MHEP, Autism Acceptance Month centers on our steadfast respect for Autistic individuals’ rights and dignity. We double down on our efforts to confront ableism and racism head-on, battling state sanctioned violence, forced institutionalization and systemic injustices that disproportionately affect Black Indigenous People of Color. By elevating diverse voices and experiences and breaking down ableist barriers, we aim to create truly equitable and inclusive communities for all.

Autism Acceptance Month is not just a period for recognition but a sustained call to action. It marks the continuation of ongoing efforts to fight for a society where Autistic individuals are celebrated, represented and live their lives to the fullest. Through empathy and solidarity, MHEP will continue to dismantle barriers and drive cross-systems change, ensuring no one is left behind.

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This is why we are using Identity First Language: https://www.autistichoya.com/2011/08/significance-of-semantics-person-first.html