Why is National Autism Acceptance Month celebrated every April? In the past decade, the widespread growth of autism has more than doubled among children in the United States, from 1 in 125 children receiving a diagnosis in 2010 to 1 in 59 children receiving a diagnosis in 2020, according to the Autism Society. The mission of the Autism Society during National Autism Acceptance Month is to spread understanding of autism and encourage people throughout the United States to reach out to loved ones with autism, participate with them, and create more opportunities for them.
Before National Autism Awareness Month was celebrated, the Autism Society celebrated Autism Awareness Month. The shift to a national recognition was important and is based not just in words, but in the idea of what it means to truly accept people with different abilities in our society, rather than just acknowledge that they are here. Many people do not realize that people with autism often face difficulty. This difficulty may even begin when they are children, when many public schools struggle to provide the appropriate support services necessary to both integrate autistic children in regular classrooms and provide extra, separate help. As autistic children grow into adulthood, they may have greater challenges in finding gainful employment, accessible housing, or affordable health care. Accepting autism can mean helping to change these structural issues and make the world a more welcoming place for autistic children and adults alike.
During National Autism Acceptance Month there are many ways to be involved. The Autism Society is ready to provide assistance by creating educational programming for schoolchildren to learn more about autism. However, since many autism efforts already focus on school-aged children, learning more about opportunities for higher education and employment for autistic adults and finding ways to create these opportunities in your community is a great way to get involved.
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