World Autism Acceptance Day April 2021

World Autism Acceptance Month 2021

Autistics of Aotearoa!

Uniting to share autistic experiences throughout the month of April.

What does it mean to be authentically autistic?

This year Altogether Autism focussed on authentic autism throughout April, World Autism Acceptance month.

Autistics of Aotearoa is an autistic-led series where New Zealand autistics share what it means to be “authentically autistic” and offer advice on how we can show acceptance in meaningful ways.

17 May 2021 – During Autism Awareness month we asked you to send an image or a short story showing how you promoted Autism Acceptance in April. Our autistic advisors selected their favourite in three categories: autistics, family/whānau, professionals.

Family/Whānau – Daniel & Angela Stanfield – JBL T600BT NC (in black) Active noise cancelling headphones kindly donated by The Warehouse Group plus Altogether Autism branded cap and stress ball.
Autistic – Tara Highnam – 6.8kg Brightspark weighted blanket kindly donated by Sensory Sam plus Altogether Autism branded cap and stress ball
Professional – Jo Clendon – JBL T600BT NC (in black) Active noise cancelling headphones kindly donated by The Warehouse Group plus Altogether Autism branded cap and stress ball.
Our thanks to our magnificent sponsors – The Warehouse Group, Sensory Sam and of course Altogether Autism. We will be in touch with the winners.


Find out more

30 April 2021 – Check out Harper Veli, 14, of Auckland being ‘Authentically Autistic”. Harper featured in the Life Unlimited book ‘Life in a Pandemic‘. Ten months on he’s now more independent and dreaming of returning to visit his family in Australia.


28 April 2021 – Here is the latest Autistics of Aotearoa contribution, shared by mum Linda Seto with Abbey’s permission.

Abbey with her soft toy

“My daughter Abbey is 100% authentically autistic when she displays certain behaviours and characteristics that help her to cope or process the world around her. One of Abbey’s coping mechanisms is carrying a soft toy with her wherever she goes. The familiar texture and scent of the soft toy helps calm and soothe her whenever she feels overwhelmed and provides her with stability and comfort.

“Some ways we can show acceptance of autistic people are: “showing up” for the autistic person in our life whether that’s an autistic work colleague, friend or family member and welcoming autistics into our communities and friendship circle; not forcing autistic people to hide their autism or mask it to fit in and continually learning and trying to come to a place of understanding by accepting autistics for who they are.”


Our good friend Tūraukawa Bartlett describes autism as a gift. His grandmother raised him saying: “If you are Māori be proud to be Māori” and describes how because he was different, she was his favourite. Watch the video and  Read more



It’s time to recognise autism as a valid identity rather than a puzzle with missing pieces, writes neurodiversity advocate Kahukura, Hawkes Bay Ngāi Tahu, Te Ātiawa. Kahukura tells us about what it means to be authentically autistic. Meanwhile Michah talks about how autism focusses him and watch out for the end when he reveals what makes him authentically autistic.



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