In 2008 the 2nd day of April was established as World Autism Awareness Day by The United Nations. Additionally April is considered World Autism Month. With 1 in 59 now being diagnosed with autism in the United States, there is a very good chance you will meet someone with autism in your lifetime. Over 70 million worldwide have autism as well. Having a month to highlight a community that often goes underserved can help break down barriers while also building an education and acceptance of those on the autism spectrum.
With that I hope if you are reading this today you will consider hosting events in your local communities to celebrate this national initiative. Have individuals on the spectrum such as myself come out to speak in your local area. Here’s a TEDxTalk I gave about my journey on the spectrum below.
Here are some ideas to get you started on what you can do around the month…
In the schools – host a monologue day where students with autism can volunteer to share their perspectives of living with autism. You can also consider hosting a speaker to host an assembly to educate students. A great idea also includes hosting a professional development workshop bringing in a speaker to educate the educators. If your community have a strong PTA or SEPAC you can even consider hosting an event for the local community.
In the workplace – host a lunch-and-learn, a work matters summit or another type of special event where you bring in people on the spectrum to talk about their experiences finding employment. Today the majority of adults with autism are unemployed so this could provide a much needed education.
At your local city hall – if you are a local politician consider proclaiming April as World Autism Month and April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. You can also host a think tank with people on the spectrum to share how you can improve your hometown for those with autism.
If you don’t have the time to host an event I’d recommend spreading the word about this initiative via social media and word of mouth. There are thousands of videos of people on the spectrum sharing their stories you can find for free online.
Thank you for taking the time to read this today. Together I hope we can educate and make positive change for the autism community not only in April but all year round.
Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Have Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by sending him an inquiry here. If you have a referral for someone who many want him to speak please reach out as well! Kerry speaks with schools, businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit organizations, parent groups and other special events on topics ranging from employment, how to succeed in college with a learning disability, internal communication, living with autism, bullying prevention, social media best practices, innovation, presentation best practices and much more!