This year the Autism Society of America, along with leading disability organizations across the country, announced that it is formally shifting references of “Autism Awareness Month” to “Autism Acceptance Month” because “inclusion begins with acceptance.”
According to 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…ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but is about 4 times more common among boys than among girls.” (How ironic, then, that two of the most famous individuals with ASD are Temple Grandin and Daryl Hannah.)
Though there is no curative treatment for ASD, and no solid explanation for its cause, the internet can be a treasure trove of information and opportunity for anyone whose life has been affected by ASD.
Pathfinders for Autism works to support and improve the lives of individuals affected by autism through expansive, customized programming, and by providing resources, training, information and activities free of charge. They provide Maryland families with everything from help understanding health insurance to how to interact with police.
The Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake recorded its discussion with Behavior Specialist Joy F. Johnson, Black & Autistic: A Focused Discussion on Being Prepared and Allyship, held June 19, 2020, to explore the unique needs of the Black autistic community.
Autism Speaks identifies resources by state and life stage.
Plus, the Hillcrest PTA’s Special Education Liaison Rachel Didovicher (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an invaluable resource. Anyone looking for help translating the alphabet soup of ASD, ADHD, IEP, or any of the acronyms that can make navigating through the school a challenge should email her. If she doesn’t have an answer already, she’ll help you find one.