Washington Update

Autism Acceptance Month Celebrates Differences

By: Debra L. Bouyer
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Autism Acceptance Month was first observed by the Autism Society of America (ASA) in 1970 as Autism Awareness Month. In 2021 ASA renamed the observance Autism Acceptance Month, hoping to enable people with autism to “live full, quality lives through connection and acceptance.” ASA is working to have the federal government officially recognize April as Autism Acceptance Month to coincide with their #CelebrateDifferences campaign. This campaign will help spread awareness and promote acceptance for those on the autism spectrum. Follow the campaign on Twitter

Throughout history, scientists have been recognized for their significant contributions to society—including many scientists who are considered to be or have been somewhere on the autism spectrum themselves. In observance of Autism Acceptance Month, FASEB celebrates the following American scientists who have made a global impact through their research: 
•    Alfred C. Kinsey, PhD (1894-1956), became one of the most influential biologists of the 20th century with his landmark studies of male and female sexual behavior. Many medical professionals believed Kinsey was autistic because of his “qualitative impairment in social interaction” and “lack of social and emotional reciprocity.”
•    Barbara McClintock, PhD (1902-1992), a scientist and cytogeneticist, won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her discovery of mobile genetic elements. While never formally diagnosed, many believed McClintock was on the autism spectrum due to her intense fixation on work for long periods of time.
•    Temple Grandin, PhD, a scientist and animal behaviorist, whose own experience with autism funded her professional work in creating systems to counter stress in certain human and animal populations. Grandin, an international autism spokesperson, is one of the first individuals with autism to share their experiences and perspectives publicly.

FASEB recognizes the importance of advocating for scientists with visible and invisible disabilities. To become an advocate and promote diversity and accessibility in STEM, learn more by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s resources on autism spectrum disorder.