Without the voices of strong autistic women in our community and the support of people like my mom, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
I was recently contacted by an autism mom who told me about her 30-year-old daughter on the autism spectrum and is about to have a baby. She said that she was proud of me for using my voice as a public speaker and self-advocate to spotlight others.
If you are reading this, I don’t know why but this instinctively made me think of Women’s History Month and all the amazing women that make up our autism community. Every March, I try to celebrate stories like this autism mom and the stories of autistic women like her daughter. I do this not only to celebrate them but because I hope that it will also lead to positive change within our community.
For example, in our community, autistic girls are underdiagnosed. While we’ve made some progress, such as boys who used to be diagnosed five times more often than girls and now it’s only four times more often, we still have a long way to go from an educational standpoint.
There are so many ways you can celebrate. Here are a few…
Spotlight an autistic woman on your social media channels. When I think about how many people post about leading autism advocate Temple Grandin on their social media channels during the month, that’s a great way to start the initial conversation. Also, consider doing a simple google search of “Autism in Women.” There are countless blogs written by actual autistic women.
Also, spotlight an autism mom. Post about an autism mom you know who loves their child unconditionally. My mom, for example, has paved the way not only for me as a child towards receiving services but for so many other individuals with disabilities by joining the Board of Education in our local town.
Emphasize the spectrum. Autism is still seen by some who don’t have a personal connection to it as the “Rain Main Disorder,” meaning autism is only in white males who are great at math, are savants, and have a photogenic memory. By talking about how autism signs may be different in boys than girls, how some autistic girls may also mask certain behaviors differently than boys, we open up the conversation to the spectrum of autism.
And also, not forgetting to celebrate in anyway you can the women activists, educators, therapists, grandparents, family members, friends, siblings, and everyone else who make a difference for our community!
Happy Women’s History Month, all!
My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.