There are some important events coming up for our community over the coming weeks: World Down Syndrome Day (21 March), World Autism Day (2 April) and Autism Awareness Month (across April).
We’ve been stepping it up over the past year – opening new branches in Bangkok and Phuket, launching a new brand to make our work more visible, and recruiting to our new scholarship programme which is accessible to young people from low income families.
We want to keep the momentum going over the year ahead. That’s where you come in. We want you to join us in going a step further than celebrating those with Down’s and Autism over the next few weeks. We’re inviting everyone in our community and beyond to make a #stepupwithsteps pledge – one thing they will do over the year ahead to better understand the barriers young people with learning differences face, and to help overcome them. This can be big or small – every action counts.
Showcasing heroes who #stepupwithsteps every day
To keep you inspired we will be posting profiles of some of the incredible people in our community – from graduates who now run coffee shops, to employers who have transformed their businesses to make space for people with learning differences. Keep a lookout for them and share to help us spread the positivity!
We’ve brainstormed some #stepupwithsteps pledges below to get you started. But we would love to hear what you come up with too.
Share your pledge on social media using the hashtag #stepupwithsteps, email us at email@example.com, or visit our cafes and zero waste shops and add a pledge to our board. A small change to our actions can make a big difference to those with learning differences.
- I will educate myself about Down’s syndrome and neurodiversity by reviewing, articles and documentaries – here’s a good article about autism from Autistic Advocacy, and books include The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, Ask an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski, plus those on this list. Documentaries include Neurotypical, and the TED Talk Women and Autism by Sarai Pahla. There’s also this actually autistic blog post search tool and blog list
- If I live in Bangkok, Steps will be a top choice for coffee and lunch!
- The next time I am buying something, I will do a quick google search to find ethical, inclusive, diverse employers selling that product. This may not work every time, but supporting businesses who respect equality is how we create long term change
- I will talk to my friends about the issue of inclusion to raise awareness
- I will follow @steps on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- I will find another local autism and Down’s Syndrome organisation and follow them on social media
- I will learn how to sign a phrase, and share a video of me doing it!
- I will buy a book for my kids that showcases neurodiversity (here’s a list)
- I will watch a movie or TV show featuring neurodiversity or autism with them and talk to them about respecting difference – Youtube channels like Neurowonderful, shows like Pablo, movies like The Peanut Butter Falcon
- I will help them make a fact sheet about a famous/successful person with Down’s or Neurodiversity – such as Tim Burton, Chris Packham or Lauren Potter
- I will make sure my kids have the opportunity to interact with neurodiverse kids and value that we need all types of learners
- I will subscribe to the autism show podcast.
For managers and employees
- I will pick an action from Steps guide to being a more inclusive employer
- I will learn more about neurodiversity or Down’s so I can support colleagues who are living with them
- I will organise a work fundraiser for Steps or another organisation which supports people with Down’s or neurodiversity
- (Bangkok) I will choose a Steps cafe for my work event venue
- (Bangkok) I will invite Steps to run a food and drink stall at my event
- (Bangkok) I will use Steps to cater for my event
- (Bangkok) I will attend a training workshop with Steps
- (Bangkok) I will seek collaboration with Steps to support students with learning differences at my school
- I will follow Senia on Facebook and/or Twitter
- I will find a local autism and Down’s Syndrome organisation and follow them on social media.
- I will schedule a learning session with my class about Down’s and neurodiversity
- I will teach my class how to sign one phrase a term/week/year
For major donors
- (Thailand) I will make a donation to the Steps scholarship programme so that neurodiverse people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Thailand can access vocational training
- I will make a donation to an organisation which supports neurodiverse people or people with Down’s.