According to current estimates, somewhere between one percent and two percent of the world’s population is autistic. While the number of individuals diagnosed as autistic has increased continually over the past few decades, evidence suggests that this increase in diagnosis is the result of increased public and professional awareness, rather than an actual increase in the prevalence of autism.
PCAA is Autistic run and organized. Our events are for everyone who identifies as part of the Autistic community as well as our allies in the wider disability communities. We hope that people with a variety of support needs are able to enjoy our events. We welcome support staff with the consent of the Autistic or disabled person being supported.
While parents are welcome at our public events, we do ask that parents do not attend our social meetups or peer support programs unless they are functioning in a support staff capacity (for example, as a communication partner). We also welcome people who are self-diagnosed, as we know that diagnosis is not accessible to everyone for a variety of reasons.
As an organization, we use identity-first language rather than person-first language. We made this choice because we think that most people do not need a reminder that we are people. We also feel that autism colors every part of our experiences, and is not a second thought or source of shame. However, we respect our friends’ no matter the language they choose to use for their experience of autism.
Much in the way the that the d/Deaf community uses “little d” deaf to reflect a person’s ability to hear and “big D” Deaf to refers to culture, the Autistic community has moved towards capitalizing “Autistic” to reflect the unique culture shared by Autistic people involved in disability rights and the Autistic Rights Movement.
Autistic advocate, Allyssa Hillary said, “High functioning means your needs get ignored. Low functioning means your abilities get ignored.” Functioning labels like these have no agreed-upon medical meaning and measure Autistic people’s worth by their ability to pretend to be non-autistic.