April is Autism Awareness Month and a busy time when organizations and individuals are raising funds, increasing understanding, and breaking down stigmas regarding autism. It is a wonderful time to reflect on your own awareness and behaviors and that of your family. But autism awareness shouldn’t be limited to just one month of the year. It is something that should be happening every single day.
Here are five ways that you can be proactive throughout the year:
1. Educate Yourself. Awareness starts with each person taking responsibility for themselves. Do your part to understand more about what autism is (and isn’t) and how you can interact more effectively with individuals with autism. Keep an open mind and focus on everything these individuals can do, rather than what they may struggle with. Once you have a better understanding of autism, you can help others to do the same.
2. Attend Local Events. Get actively involved in supporting autism awareness and activities in your area. Many groups have local chapters and hold events throughout the year. Take your family or friends and show your support while learning more about their efforts and showing you care. Even better – become a volunteer with these organizations and events.
3. Be an Advocate. Stand up for children and adults with autism. Don’t let others put them down or talk negatively. Share your story. Ensure that individuals with special needs feel welcomed and valued where you work and are treated with respect just like everyone else. Individuals with autism can be as successful as anyone else with the right support.
4. Speak Up. Write or call your state representatives, local legislators, or other leaders regarding proposed legislation that affects those with autism. Be aware of how these policies will impact access to services, insurance, research, and other issues. Encourage others to do the same. Every voice counts.
5. Be a Positive Role Model. Pay attention to your own actions and words when it comes to autism. Set a good example for your children (and community) when interacting with others and helping those with autism to thrive. Make sure they feel accepted and included in your life.
Autism awareness starts with you and your actions. When everyone works together, we can break down stigmas and increase acceptance. PediaPlex provides comprehensive services to support children with autism in maximizing their potential and reaching their goals. From evaluation and diagnosis through ABA therapy and related services, PediaPlex helps children and their families be more successful.
What are some other ways that you raise awareness? Leave a comment and let us know!