Autism Acceptance Week: Why we need more than awareness of autism

Autism Acceptance Week (27 March- 2 April) aims to increase understanding of what it means to be autistic. Ben Brown writes here about his own experience about life after an autism diagnosis and why we should all be more open to becoming more accepting of neurodiversity.


Back in January 2021 I received my autism diagnosis. There, I’ve said it. It’s taken me this long to get to the stage where I can write these words.

Even now I’m wary about saying it out loud because despite the fact that it’s World Autism Acceptance Week, there’s still a long way to go towards ending the stigma around autism.

When I received my diagnosis, sadly my experience was negative. People I was close to laughed in my face and overnight I was treated differently.

I was made to feel as though something was wrong with me. I was also exhausted from ‘masking’ who I actually was on a daily basis. While ‘masking’ and hiding away my autistic traits I wasn’t being me and I wasn’t being true to myself.

And now? Fast forward two years and I am in a work environment where I am fully accepted and supported to be the best I can be at work. My colleagues have helped me to accept my diagnosis and learn about what makes me who I am. I’m now able to be myself and have reduced the ‘masking’ of my autistic traits. It’s only part of who I am.

A few months ago I was promoted to Deputy Director of Adult Services at AEM. It’s not something I ever thought about doing before the opportunity came up.

I had worked in the adult social care sector for several years before joining AEM in 2021. Years of work experience put me in good stead for the role and my autism diagnosis brings an extra layer to those skills. I have both an understanding of our support services, as well as personal experience of autism.


My own autism diagnosis isn’t something I’ve shared with many people but it is getting easier to talk about. Things are beginning to change as we see more about autism in the media.

There’s now a better understanding of how it affects people. Autism comes in different forms and affects autistic people differently. Every individual has their own challenges. Some may struggle in social situations, others may be oversensitive to noises or lights, while some face issues around anxiety. There are numerous ways it can affect people.

Acceptance is the next step.

Acceptance is not just for autism though; it’s for everyone because we are all amazingly unique!

Acceptance is not just for autism though; it’s for everyone because we are all amazingly unique!

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