Helping Others Understand Why We Celebrate National Autism Acceptance Month

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Reviewed by Jason Neufeld, Esq.

Are you aware that April is recognized as National Autism Acceptance Month? Formerly, only the Autism Society celebrated Autism Awareness Month, but it has now become a national celebration called National Autism Acceptance Month. 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. According to the Autism Society, in the past decade among children in the United States, the prevalence of autism has more than doubled from 1 in 125 children receiving a diagnosis in 2010 to 1 in 59 children receiving a diagnosis in 2020.

The reason for the shift in recognizing and celebrating National Autism Awareness Month 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.  People with autism often face difficulty, starting when they are children.  Many public schools struggle to provide the appropriate support services necessary to both integrate autistic children in regular classrooms and provide extra, separate help. Issues with autism may continue into adulthood.  Adults with autism 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.

Looking for ways to be active during National Autism Acceptance Month?  The Autism Society can help with creating educational programming for schoolchildren to learn more about autism. Because 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.

We know you may have questions. The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) is the pre-eminent organization of Florida elder law attorneys providing advocacy, education and action on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities. We encourage you to contact one of our attorneys in your area using our Find a Lawyer website for assistance on what to do next if your aging parent has developed memory loss.