Celebrating Autism Awareness Month
- Social Media: Using our social media influence can make a huge difference. By sharing Autism related posts or Autism Awareness Month articles or topics, it can create an atmosphere of inclusion and understanding.
- Volunteering: Although most people fear to volunteer due to the fact that it can represent taking care of ASD people, in many events, this is not the case. During Autism Awareness Month, many events are being hosted at schools or conference centers to spread ASD awareness. This represents the need for volunteers for hosting events, inviting people, or even for general organization. Whatever the situation your help is really valuable even if its just to provide moral support and encouragement.
- Attending Events: As mentioned above, during ASD month, many conferences are held to spread awareness and to give autistic individuals a stage to be heard. If it is possible for you, we highly encourage you to attend events and invite people around you to do the same. Autistic individuals have incredible stories to tell, and they deserve to be heard.
- Donating: Most Autistic organizations are non-profit, meaning that they rely on support to survive. Remember, even a couple of dollars can make a huge difference when it comes to helping non-profits, and those dollars can help to change the life of an ASD person in need of physical therapy.
An Alternative To Autism Awareness Is Autism Acceptance
In order to combat the idea that autism is the enemyand to celebrate the unique gifts of autistic peopleseveral autism advocacy groups created an alternative celebration called Autism Acceptance Month. According to the Autism Acceptance Month website:
“During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and autistic people.
“Autism Acceptance Month promotes acceptance and celebration of autistic people as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members making valuable contributions to our world. Autism is a natural variation of the human experience, and we can all create a world which values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds.
“In a nutshell, Autism Acceptance Month is about treating autistic people with respect, listening to what we have to say about ourselves, and making us welcome in the world.”
For many families, particularly those who benefit from or support programs at Autism Speaks, Autism Awareness Month is a very important observance. For those with a different “neurodiverse” perspective, however, Autism Acceptance may be a better choice.
You Can Get A Graduate Degree
If your educational goals include an advanced degree, it’s worth looking into private graduate student loans. Working through a private lender, most prospective pupils can obtain enough money to pay for all degree-related expenses, take advantage of competitive rates, and get access to suitable repayment terms. This is especially helpful for current college grads who want to get their MBA, JD, or other specialty degrees to qualify for high-paying jobs.
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What Can I Do
Theres plenty you can do to increase awareness about ASD!
Books suggested by Teach for America that feature a character with autism and are ideal for children include:
- Leahs Voice by Lori Demonia and Monique Turchan
- Keishas Doors/Las Puertas De Keisha: An Autism Story by Marvie Ellis and Jenny Loehr
- Tacos, Anyone?/Alguien quiere tacos? by Marvie Ellis and Jenny Loehr
- Ians Walk: A Story about Autism by Laurie Lears and Karen Ritz
For children in middle school and high school, Autism Akron recommends:
- Of Mice and Aliens by Kathy Hoopman
- Buster and the Amazing Daisy by Nancy Ogaz
- Lisa and the Lace Maker by Kathy Hoopman
- Wishing on the Midnight Star by Nancy Ogaz
- Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon
- A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon
- Clay by Colby Rodowsky
- To OZ and Back: A Bones and Duchess Mystery by Alexandra Eden
- A Wizard Alone: The Sixth Book in the Young Wizards Series by Diane Duane
- The Wright and Wong Mystery Series by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Create some Autism Awareness crafts!
Total Costs Are Much Lower
Universities and colleges can earn high profit margins on e-courses because a vast majority of the classroom sessions are taped and can be viewed at any time. In short, schools spend much less on e-students than on those who live and matriculate on campus. In general, expect to pay about half the cost of a traditional diploma when you are a remote learner.
Can I Use The Autism Speaks World Autism Month Marks For My Event/fundraiser
- The logo must remain intact. You may not change or add anything to it.
- You may not place the logo on any product or use for selling purposes.
- In the US, any fundraising activity utilizing the World Autism Month marks must have the authorization of Autism Speaks. Contact and an Autism Speaks representative will contact you directly to review guidelines.
Why Were Embracing Acceptance This Apriland Beyond
As you know, April has been Autism Awareness Month for several decades now. This year, after careful consideration, we are shifting our focus for the month from Autism Awareness to Autism Acceptance. Why Acceptance, instead of Awareness?
For one, leading disability groups nationwide, including the Autism Society of America, Easter Seals, The Arc, and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, are shifting to Acceptanceand urging the media and other organizations and outlets to do the same. The shift in the use of terminology aims to foster acceptance to ignite change through improved support and opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care, and comprehensive long-term services, the Autism Society release explains.
While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life, says Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society, in the release. As many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.
Awareness is easy. Acceptance requires actual work.
Of course, acceptance cannot happen in a single month. Instead, it will take time and, as Kassiane S. sayshard work. Acceptance, too, is a first step toward the other critical goal: full inclusion.
Autism Awareness Month Has Traditionally Played Apart In The Demonising Of Autistic People
Heres the big one. And ithas devastating consequences.
The moment we realised that the coronavirus may be a threat to our health services ability to function, disability groups started to get nervous. Because the closer we would get to being overwhelmed by COVID-19, the bigger the fear that disabled people would be asked to lay down their lives for everyone else.
Its thankfully not common practice, but on rare occasions its been seen happening: reports are coming in from multiple countries about doctors contacting parents of autistic people, asking them to sign Do Not Resuscitate orders, presumably so that their children wont have to occupy a hospital bed that could otherwise be used by a non-autistic patient.
This month the NHS and their counterparts worldwide are under enormous pressure and are rightly being celebrated, although sadly even before this month they have had to spread the word that learning disabilities are not reasons to issue DNR orders, for fear of the occasional medical professional recommending them for healthy autistic people with learning difficulties, on the basis of their autism rather than their health.
Yes, its utterly horrifying and it casts the rest of the healthcare profession in an unfairly bad light. And it is a direct consequence of several decades worth of negative advocacy.
This isnt the first time Ive used this picture from Autism Times Two. Its rare I see a sentence that encapsulates an issue to such pitch-perfection.
Why You Should Wear Blue On April 2 For World Autism Awareness Day
For more than a decade now April 2nd has had a very special meaning to me. The United Nations in 2007 proclaim April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day but it also became a day to start a national conversation about autism. Later, when Light It Up Blue began it also gave us the opportunity to start an even larger conversation about autism by wearing blue.
Even looking deeper into blue as a color, Ive always associated it in my life as a color of peace and honesty. I dont know if anyone reading this may relate to me but blue has always made me feel calm as well. Growing up with sensory issues there was a time where Id only wear blue shirts to school. Thats why to this day its still one of my favorite colors.
Besides from that, every year since Light It Up Blue launched Ive had at least one person come up to me asking me why Im wearing blue. Over the years Ive worn blue shirts with countless different messages with my two favorite being Keep calm and light it up blue and Shine a light on autism. A special moment happened a few years ago when I spoke at our local Boys and Girls Club for their World Autism Month kickoff and every single student, whether it was a shirt, wristband, earrings, you name it was wearing blue. To see young students supporting a cause near and dear to my heart made this type of cause that much more special to me.
Happy World Autism Month all!
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Ways You Can Become Involved At The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention Autism Website
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the “CDC is committed to continuing to provide essential data on ASD, search for factors that put children at risk for ASD and possible causes, and develop resources that help identify children with ASD as early as possible.” You can visit the website and education yourself about the following:
- Early Intervention: From birth to 5 years, your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves. Track your childs development and act early if you have a concern.
- Vaccine Safety: Some people have had concerns that ASD might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD.
Autism Awareness Month: Why Not Be Inclusive Instead Of Aware
Autism Awareness Month? How about Autism Is Here, So Get Used To It Because Its Not Going Anywhere Month?
Or Autism Isnt A Death Sentence, So Learn Something About It Before You Make Insensitive Comments At The Grocery Store Month?
Or Autism Isnt Some Fake, Designer Make-Believe Disorder, So Get Off Your Soapbox, You Judgmental Twit Month?
As the father of a 6-year-old boy on the spectrum, I have no issues with creating more awareness among the grizzled masses of which I was formerly one who associate this skyrocketing developmental disorder with the movie Rain Man and the nerd on The Big Bang Theory.
But it takes more than being aware of something to spark cultural change.
It takes more than noticing someone off in a corner to nudge things in the right direction.
Autism is now the fastest growing, most underfunded developmental disorder in the U.S. and therefore Canada affecting one in 68 kids, one in 42 boys.
Why? No one knows. Better diagnostic tools? Environmental boogeyman? Evolution of the human race?
It doesnt matter. Many of these kids are bright, capable, eager to make their mark.
And society swayed by stereotypes, frightened of what it doesnt understand has little idea how to help.
Advocacy groups like Autism Speaks want to demonize them, presenting them as soulless tragedies whose parents are saints .
Never mind. I already know the answer. Its no.
Let me tell you, its a concept thats no stranger in our house.
Just like you.
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Why Autism Awareness Month Can Be Traumatising For Autistic People
It doesnt seem quiteright, does it? That a month designated for raising public knowledge of autismwould be so widely disliked by the autistic people it claims to support.
But just to clarify: thephrase widely disliked doesnt do justice to the feelings of some of thosenegatively impacted by Autism Awareness Month.
The autistic people Imreferring to dont dislike it. They dont even hate it.
They fear it.
For every autistic person like me who spends April in full advocacy mode, theres another autistic person who spends April doing their best to stay offline. Im in a fairly privileged position when it comes to Autism Awareness Month, having both the mental energy to talk about the issue, and the platform for my words to be heard . Meanwhile, other autistic people feel unable to express themselves without judgement, or are actively silenced by others.
The Origins Of Autism Awareness
Autism, as a diagnosis, has changed radically over the past several decades. Back before the 1990s, autism was not considered to be a spectrum disorder. Thus anyone with an autism diagnosis had relatively severe symptoms. Many professionals believed that autism was a result of poor parenting the famous psychologist Bruno Bettelheim wrote extensively about what he called “refrigerator” mothering. An adult with autism was typically thought to require an institutional setting.
The movie “Rain Man,” with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, provides a good insight into autism in those days. Hoffman’s character has been institutionalized for most of his life, despite his verbal and intellectual abilities. Leaving the institution is a frightening experience he requires full-time care from his brother in order to successfully navigate the outside world.
Enter Dr. Bernard Rimland. A psychologist with an autistic son, he debunked the “refrigerator mother” theory and created an organization called The Autism Society. According to the Society’s website, The Autism Society began its first nationwide awareness program in the early 1970s. It was adopted by Congress in 1984. The iconic autism awareness ribbon was designed in 1999.
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Celebrating Autism Awareness And Acceptance
April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. During the entire month of April, you’ll hear about autism-oriented fundraisers, autism awareness presentations, autism-friendly happenings, and special opportunities to recognize people on the autism spectrum. You’ll also notice that most people involved with these activities are wearing the color blue. In fact, you might even notice buildings “lighting it up blue” on April 2.
Most of the people who celebrate Autism Awareness Day or Month are not autistic. Instead, they are parents, organizers, and others who care for or about autism. But where are the autistic self-advocates? In many cases, they are actively avoiding the celebrations.
Different responses to Autism Awareness Day and Month come about as a result of the history of the events, the intent behind the events, and the people who created them.
World Autism Awareness Day Social Media Buzz
2 years ago today we sat in a room while getting told Jacob has AutismI had no idea what that meant for you or us. You have worked so hard. You continue to grow & show us that amazing personality inside you!I am so proud of you.I love you so much buddy.
Autism isn’t linear.
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So How Do We Change This
Here, have a fewbullet-points.
- Change the name of it to World Autism Acceptance Month. Because you can be aware of something and still be an unhealthy influence over it. The negative advocates responsible for those DNR orders were very much aware of autism. We need acceptance now.
- If youre running an autism event, have autistic speakers.
- If you share stuff on social media, share from autistic writers.
- Buy things from autistic artists, musicians, craftspeople, authors and so on.
- Change the narrative from tragedy to difference, and talk about our strengths as well as our difficulties.
How Can You Participate
Be informed. Youll find excellent resources at the Autism Societys Autism Awareness Month websiteincluding infographics to share. And youll find the Autism Societys resources on Coronavirus with several toolkits organized by topic.
Get involved: Consider participating in the Autism Speaks Kindness Questa weekly kindness activity to make 2020 the year of kindness and help create a kinder, more inclusive world Share Autism Societys COVID-19 resources for the autism community with family, friends, and educators.
Learn more about how the autistic brain works: PresenceLearning hosted a webinar with leading autism expert Dr. Temple Grandin to give special educators and administrators a deeper understanding of neurodiversity and how they can help students reach their fullest potential. You can watch a recording of the webinarhere, read a summary of the webinars Q& A portionhere, and download a free ebook, 5 Tips for Working with Children with Autism,here.
Do you have any plans to celebrate Autism Awareness Month? Tell us about it in the comment section.
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