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April is Autism Acceptance Month. It’s a month used to shed light on this neurodevelopmental condition. Advocates use this month to help educate and clarify many misconceptions and promote support for those with autism. While it’s primarily referred to as “Autism Awareness Month,” according to USA Today it was switched to Autism Acceptance Month in 2021.

What Is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), encompasses a wide range of conditions that may present with social communication skill challenges and repetitive or restricted behaviors or thinking. According to AutismSpeaks.org, autism affects around 1 in 36 children and 1 in 45 adults in the United States.

But autism isn’t always easily identifiable, because it can present in various ways. Some people with autism can speak, while others are limited or nonverbal.  Some have intellectual disabilities and others don’t. Each case is different.  Those with autism may be able to fully function in daily life, while others may need daily support.

Autism is often diagnosed early in life, with signs appearing by the age of 2 or 3. The average age of diagnosis is 5 years old. There are currently three levels of an ASD diagnosis, which is based on the amount of outside support a person needs.

There are often other co-occurring conditions with autism, which can include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, or sleep disorders.

Boys are more likely to receive an autism diagnosis than girls, as girls may show more subtle symptoms. But autism is a lifelong condition and needs can change over time. There are a lot of things that can help to accommodate an autistic person, including a variety of therapies.

Autism Awareness And Acceptance – Why Is It Important?

Autism is a condition that has become more prevalent, with a 317% higher rate than in 2000. With the rise of this disorder, it’s important to raise awareness to support the rights and needs of autistic people.

The Autism Society of America shifted from the “awareness” to “acceptance” term back in 2021. The idea is that while most people know what autism is at this point, there’s still a long way to go with resources, support, and advocacy.

It’s important to understand what autism is, and the best resource for this is straight from those with autism. Giving autistic people a voice can be extremely important.

It’s also important to avoid labels or derogatory language around the disorder. You can also help by supporting autistic-run businesses. There are many who work with or are run by autistic people.

It’s important to remember that autistic people deserve respect and have unique strengths and talents to contribute.

If you’re looking for autism awareness and acceptance events to show your support this month, we have those below, along with some resources in the Augusta area as well.

  • Upcoming Autism Awareness Events

  • 2nd Annual Autism Walk-A-Thon

    Location: Lake Olmstead Park, 2205 Broad Street, Augusta, GA

    Date: Sunday, April 7th, 2024

    Time: Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Walk begins at 10 a.m.

    This event is hosted by MOMS Moving Over Mountains Against Autism. Cost is $30 per team. For more information, contact Deidre Roberson at [email protected].

    According to WJBF, MOMS Against Autism was started by Deidre Roberson after her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.

    2nd Annual Autism Awarness Walk-A-Thon

    Eventbrite - MOM Moving Over Mountains Against Autism presents 2nd Annual Autism Awarness Walk-A-Thon - Sunday, April 7, 2024 at Lake Olmstead, Augusta, GA. Find event and ticket information.

  • Autism Awareness Author Event And Book Signing

    Location: Barnes & Noble at the Augusta Mall, 3540 Wrightsboro Road, Augusta

    Date: Sunday, April 14th, 2024

    Time: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

    This event will celebrate autism awareness and acceptance with author Dr. Tishon Creswell.  She will be on-site and doing a book signing for her book I Can Play Too! KoBee’s Journey With Autism. The event will also include coloring and stickers for the kids.  Get more details on the event page on Facebook.

    According to her bio on Amazon, Dr. Tishon Creswell is originally from North Carolina, but now lives in Augusta, Georgia. I Can Play Too! KoBee’s Journey With Autism is Dr. Creswell’s third book. She is also a registered nurse and Army Veteran.

  • Augusta Autism & Disability Support Group

    The Augusta Autism & Disability Support Group has meetings each month.  This month’s meeting is coming up on Thursday, April 25 at Wesley United Methodist Church (825 North Belair Road, Evans). The group is a chance to meet and share experiences with others who are raising children with special needs. This meeting will have childcare provided by Occupational Therapy student volunteers from Augusta University.

  • Autism Resources In And Around Augusta

  • Autism, Advocacy, and Intervention

    Autism, Advocacy, and Intervention (AAI) is a new clinic that recently opened in the Augusta Area. They are located at 2609 Commons Boulevard in Augusta. They are an insurance-based clinic with therapies offered after a child is diagnosed with autism. They work one-on-one with children to adapt and celebrate their unique strengths and abilities. AAI offers a range of resources for autistic children and their families, including one-on-one sessions, group sessions, and caregiver education. Their services take place in their clinic, in homes, and in schools and daycares. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the foundation of their approach.

  • ABLE Kids

    ABLE Kids is an organization that serves families across the Southeast. They provide effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism. ABLE Kids has locations across Georgia and the Carolinas. See a list of their locations HERE.

    They offer ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy, along with occupational and speech therapy. The goal is to provide children with the skills needed to live a fulfilling life.

  • Autism Speaks

    Autism Speaks is a national organization that is committed to providing the autism community with resources. Their website is a wealth of information when it comes to finding local resources, information, getting expert advice, and reading personal stories from those in the autism community. They also have the Autism Response Team (ART). This team helps answer questions and provides information and referral support. The team are Certified Resource Specialists, trained to provide specialized information and resources for autistic people and their families.

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