Getting Involved with Autism Awareness Month

By Vivian El-Salawy on April 5, 2018

April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day, however it doesn’t end there. The entire month of April is Autism Awareness Month, and there are many ways for individuals to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD), volunteer within their local community, and spread the word. Here are just a few of the ways to get involved with Autism Awareness Month:

Attend an event

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April is full of ASD-related events, sponsored by national and local organizations. These include gatherings for people with autism, informational meetings between parents that have children with autism, and so on. Keep an eye out for some special events by some talented folks as well – perhaps a local artist with autism is having debuting some of their art at a local gallery, or there might be a local music featuring performers with autism. Sometimes the best way to support your community is by showing up and getting involved just by listening or observing somebody’s hard work.

Take an online course

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The importance behind Autism Awareness Month roots from the need to educate individuals within society about ASD. Many people do not understand autism because of the broadness of the spectrum. There are so many different behavioral patterns and speech patterns that are affiliated with ASD that vary from one individual to the next, and often times, it makes it difficult to wrap your head around what autism really means. By taking a short online course, you could answer many of the questions you might be having about ASD, or at least learn a little bit more so that you can share it with those around you.

Autism Society offers a simple, thirty-minute course called Autism 101, and best of all – it’s free. The course is broken down into the following categories:

  • Introduction to the Autism Spectrum
  • Overview of Treatment Options
  • Treatment Assistance
  • Transition to Adulthood
  • More Information and Resources

Reach out to a local organization

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If you’re unsure as to how to get your foot in the door, whether you are a part of the autism community or just somebody interested in getting involved, the best (and often easiest) way to get involved is by reaching out to a local organization. If your town or city has a college or university, there is most likely a club or organization for ASD that is open to the public. If there are no local organizations, consider searching for local affiliates of national organizations, such as Autism Society. If you’ve done your research and you haven’t been able to find anything – start your own! There might have been countless individuals before you that have searched for the same kind of community, but you can make the change.

Take a friend to see a Sensory Friendly Film

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AMC Theatres (AMC) and Autism Society work together in helping bring some of the coolest flicks to a theatre near you for individuals with autism and other disabilities to enjoy at least once every month. If you do not have an AMC theatre near you, often times, smaller theatre chains have similar showings as well. Take a family member or a friend to see one of their favorite movies this month. If you don’t know anybody diagnosed with ASD, consider fundraising or providing money to buy some movie tickets for a local special needs classroom or group.

Self-advocacy is important within the autism community, so at the very least what you can do this month (and every month) is open up your ears and listen to what people with autism have to say about their experiences, identities, and needs.

Vivian El-Salawy is a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in Editing, Writing, and Media with minors in Slavic (Russian) Studies and Communications. Alongside writing for Uloop News, WVFS Tallahassee 89.7 FM, and editing for the Good Life Community magazine, she is heavily involved with a Tau Beta Sigma, a national honorary sorority that promotes women in the band profession.

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