You’ve likely heard of autism, and probably know someone who is autistic. April is Autism Awareness Month, but what most people are not aware of is how to fully understand and accept autism. This understanding goes beyond social interactions. It is also a critical thread to how we ensure proper and fair education, healthcare, and social services for autistic children and adults. According to the Autism Society, autism is now prevalent in one in every 59 children. This is double what the rate was in 2004.
This month we celebrate individuals with autism, but we also look at the intense reality that they, and their families, face every day. It’s time we embrace a new perspective of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and what that means for healthcare, education, and daily life for those affected. The disorder looks different in every individual, which is why it’s considered a spectrum. By sharing and wearing blue this month we can spread awareness, but more importantly, we can initiate change.
So, how can we make a direct impact?
- Give to local organizations that help families in your community.
- Give to an organization that trains and provides service dogs.
- Volunteer as an autism buddy (services often set up by schools or adult educational programs).
- Invite children on the spectrum to social gatherings (birthdays, pool parties, bowling, movies, etc.).
- Smile and talk to people who seem a bit more uncomfortable in social interactions.
- Talk to your friends and family about inclusion and bullying in schools and the workplace.
- Hire adults with autism.
- Get involved with your local government and advocate for programs that support autistic children and adults through education, healthcare, employment, and public safety.
We’d like to highlight and thank our clients – and all organizations and individuals – who dedicate their time or daily work to help provide resources and services for those with autism. Head to their websites and follow them on social media to learn more about initiatives you can take part in this year!
- Heroes 4 Autism
- Genesis Foundation
- Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater (FACT)
- Autism Speaks
- Doug Flutie Foundation for Autism
- Imagine a Way
- Spectrum Designs
- Grant a Gift for Autism
- Faison Center / Faison School for Autism
- Reed Foundation for Autism
- Autism Alliance of Michigan
- Alexander Leigh Center for Autism
- Gentry Foundation for Autism
- ACEing Autism
- and more!
“The puzzle pattern reflects the complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope — hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and access to appropriate services/supports, people with autism will lead full lives able to interact with the world on the own terms.” – Autism Society