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Challenging Stigmas and Stereotypes

At Spectrum Tech Trade School, Village, and Training Center we know that challenging stereotypes is an important endeavor that promotes understanding, empathy, and progress. Stereotypes are oversimplified beliefs or assumptions about a group of people based on characteristics such as race, gender, religion, diagnosis, cognitive ability, or nationality. Here are some ways we challenge stereotypes about the autism community:

  1. Education and Awareness:

    • Educate ourselves and others about the harmful effects of autistic stereotypes.

    • Learn about the diversity within the autism community and recognize that individuals are unique.

  2. Media Literacy:

    • Analyze media portrayals critically. Recognize when stereotypes about autistics are perpetuated in movies, TV shows, advertisements, and news .

    • Support media that portrays diverse and authentic representations.

  3. Promote Positive Role Models:

    • Highlight positive examples that defy autistic stereotypes. Celebrate achievements of  autistic individuals who break barriers.

    • Encourage representation of autistics in various fields, including leadership, arts, and sciences.

  4. Challenge Biased Language:

    • Be mindful of the language we use. Avoid generalizations and assumptions.

    • Correct others when they use stereotypes or biased language.

  5. Interact and Build Relationships:

    • Engage with people from different backgrounds. Listen to their stories and experiences.

    • Understand that diversity enriches our perspectives and contributes to a more inclusive society.

  6. Advocate for Policy Changes:

    • Support policies that promote equality, diversity, and inclusion for autistics.

    • Encourage organizations and institutions to address biases and create fair opportunities for autistics.

We know that challenging stereotypes is an ongoing process. By actively participating in these efforts, we contribute to a more open-minded and compassionate world.

False beliefs about autistics abilities easily turn into a voice of self-doubt, that can be hard to ignore.  In the last couple of decades, scientists have started to discover that this can have damaging effects on performance.   This mechanism is due to what psychologists call “stereotype threat” – referring to a fear of doing something that would confirm negative perceptions of a stigmatised group that we are members of. The phenomenon was first uncovered by American social psychologists in the 1990s.   This is why in order for all autistics to reach their full potential we must break barriers, remove stereotypes and harmful functioning labels from all areas of the Autism Services System. 

Then we should have a button that says click here and next to it “to read our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy” and have a link to that.

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