by Aaron Martin
We recently recognized National Autism Awareness Month in April. With more than 3.5 million Americans currently living with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), it’s more important than ever to raise awareness, advocacy, and acceptance. But support doesn’t (and shouldn’t) only exist in the month of April. To create a truly inclusive work environment and society for adults with ASD, we must show our support every month of the year!
Here are five ways to show your support for inclusion, job choice, and acceptance for autism spectrum disorders every month of the year.
1.) Educate yourself
While autism has gained more attention and acceptance over the last decade, the majority of Americans are uneducated about many aspects of ASD. Autism is a spectrum and it affects people in different ways. Become more aware of the spectrum by reading books or blogs by ASD authors, attending a speech, or learning about the legislation affecting people with ASD. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to contribute to the cause.
2.) Spread awareness
Don’t keep your knowledge of ASD to yourself––share it with the world! Social media can be a great tool in this effort. Share an enlightening article online, upload pictures from an advocacy event you attended, or post about upcoming volunteer opportunities. Each time you spread positive awareness is another step towards inclusivity!
3.) Donate your time or make a financial contribution
Take action! When you donate to a charitable organization you are enabling progress, whether it’s used for research, programs, or policy changes. If you don’t have the resources to make a financial contribution, there are plenty of other opportunities to make a noticeable impact––such as attending a rally, signing a petition, or calling your state representatives.
4.) Spend time with someone with ASD and listen to them
The easiest way to break the stigmas and stereotypes about ASD is to spend time with someone who has autism. Talk to them. Listen to their opinions. Become their friend. The more time you spend with someone with ASD, the more you’ll be able to see, recognize, and help fix the gaps in awareness and inclusivity.
5.) Be an advocate
People define themselves as feminists, conservatives, and environmental activates––why not define yourself as an ASD advocate? Use your voice to inspire others to join the cause by talking to your local school board about creating more ASD awareness programs, starting a petition in your neighborhood, or leading a community volunteer day.
Whether you choose to raise awareness through social media or donate your time to a charitable organization, your support can affect positive change. Here’s to Autism Awareness all year round!