We’d like to thank Noelle from our kitting department for putting this information together to help promote autism awareness in honor of Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Awareness Day.
Happy Autism Awareness Day. For those who may not know, April is Autism Awareness Month. Every year for the past 9 years Autism awareness groups and advocacy groups have celebrated Autism Awareness through organized events like walks and fundraising events.
Who would have thought that a routine wellness check for my son and a talk with his pediatrician would lead to an Autism diagnosis for my then 1 year old son. It was the diagnosis from a psychologist that ultimately got the ball rolling on me and my family’s Autism journey. Hearing the words, “Julio has Autism” and seeing it on paper from the final findings made it all the more real and pushed me to learn more and share my own journey and experience to help others and to also educate people.
One things is for sure, we are lucky to live in a world run by technology where we can get so much information and so many helpful resources. Where the internet can connect you to people that you can build a community and support system with. Where you can share information and experiences and not feel alone. Additionally, I am lucky to have a job that encourages homelife amongst its employees and that “out of work” life that allows me to attend workshops at my sons school and be involved in his therapy and services. That is community. That is support.
Autism is not as “un-common” as I thought it was three years ago. One thing I have learned is no one’s disability defines them because they are so much more than any bow we try to put them in. But what will define us is how we treat people with disabilities. How we fight for them, and include them and accept them and respect them.
“Autism is not a puzzle, nor a disease. Autism is a challenge, but certainly not a devastating one.”
-Trisha Van Berkel (Autism Parenting Magazine)
What is Autism
From the CDC:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.
A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.
Ways to Get Involved
- Walks – Get involved in local walks in your community. Two great sites to check out are Kennedy Krieger Institute and Eventbrite. In addition to walks, they list great fundraising and networking events. Also, you can be a boss and organize your own events and walks on Eventbrite.
- Volunteer – YAI has great listings for volunteering opportunities and ways to get involved.
- Advocate – Just like raising awareness is crucial to services and acceptance for people with Autism, advocacy is crucial to empowering people with Autism and maintaining the delivery of services and support for families. Here’s some advocacy info from Autism Society.
- Friendship Circle is a great site to check out for different events and resources. But best of all there is this amazing blog that accompanies the site written for parents and educators of special needs children by parents and educators of special needs children. They have tips, advice, events, support and community.
- The Autism Project is another great site for resources, support groups, training, social skill groups, safety resources, summer camps, training and more. Check it out!
Personal Book Recommendation
- Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity: Understanding everything about the background of Autism has been important to my own awareness as a mother of an Autistic child but also in spreading awareness among people who don’t know a lot about Autism in my life.
Apps for Children with Autism
- Theatre Development Fund Autism Theatre Initiative: The National Autism Theatre Initiative was founded in 2012 the spirit of sharing ideas and methodology when it comes to launching autism-friendly or sensory friendly programming. You can read more about what makes a performance autism-friendly and consult this video for getting to the theater
- Chuck E. Cheese’s Sensory Sensitive Sundays run the first Sunday of every month at select locations. See the full list here.
- AMC presents sensory friendly films for the whole family on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month. You can find locations here.
Representation and Diversity