Amy is the Director of Autism Now at The Arc.



Autism Acceptance – Accept Me, Not A Label

By Amy Goodman, M.A.

Autism is not something to be feared, nor is it solely defined by medical jargon or categories.
It needs to be accepted as the way an individual thinks, feels, and expresses themselves;
nothing more, nothing less. An individual who happens to have a diagnosis needs to be
accepted as a human being first and foremost. The expression of their autism may come in
many forms and whatever that may look like, it needs to be accepted as part of the person
and part of what motivates them.

If we start by accepting autism as part of the person and not let their autism be what defines
them, then we can be free to be who we want to be. I have taken on the challenge and
embraced my autism. I do not let it run my life; therefore, I have broken some barriers and
set an example that individuals on the autism spectrum can be accepted for who they are
and what they can contribute to society. Let’s celebrate not only acceptance but that autism
is not a disability but differently abled. Think positive and find unique solutions to problems,
always remember this; there is more than one way to do things and no one correct way to
do something. By accepting autism, individuals are embracing and empowering themselves
to be who they always knew they would be.

Ever since my diagnosis, in my mid 30’s, I have learned so much about myself and how it
is possible to influence others just by being there and listening. Sharing my story has made
such a difference in my life and now I have a new found talent that I would like to tell others

As part of my job as Director of Autism Now, I was a contributor for Talent Scout, our toolkit
for employers, that reflects the opinions and voices of people on the spectrum. I will also be
available to do consulting services as well. That will include such things as being a public
speaker at conferences, giving presentations, being a leader in the autism community, as
well as telephone or e­mail consultations.

Acceptance is what it’s all about – accepting someone for who they are, for the difference
they can make in someone’s life, and accepting them as a human being first. Always a
person first and never a label or diagnosis; don’t fix what isn’t broken, let the person with
autism tell you what they need and want, and always let them make their own choices for
themselves. That’s what it means to accept autism, being free and being me.

Amy Goodman, M.A.

Amy Goodman is currently the Director of Autism Now at The Arc of the United States. She
has an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Special
Education with a minor in autism. She is an individual on the autism spectrum who enjoys
helping others to understand what it is like to live with a developmental disability and has a
passion for helping others in their journeys with their children with unique abilities to live life to
the fullest as independently as possible. She likes to be a self­advocate and fight for the rights
of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as time permits. She also has a
passion for reading, crossword puzzles, square dancing, and parrots and owls.

For more information on that I can always be found at,, or 202­600­3489.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)