This April is Autism Acceptance Month, and the Autism Society reminds everyone that acceptance happens every day.
Autism Society Tidewater Virginia — This April, the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia is reminding everyone that acceptance happens every day. Autism Acceptance Month kicks off on April 1, and the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia is highlighting the power of acceptance in our daily interactions for those with Autism. For the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia, acceptance means more than a designation for the month; it is an act of embracing the different, diverse and unique experiences across the Autism community.
The organization is connecting with Autistic individuals, their families, friends, and support teams with their annual #CelebrateDifferences campaign. The goal of #CelebrateDifferences is to highlight and honor the infinite ways in which people experience life. The campaign aligns with the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia's vision to connect everyone in the Autism community to the support they need, when they need it – no matter how they identify themselves or the diversity of support needs.
“Autism Acceptance Month is a great reminder that acceptance is understanding that one size does not fit all – that we can and should see an individual’s unique needs and work together to advocate for the services and supports that help each person live fully,” said Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. “This is what #CelebrateDifferences is all about – recognizing the diversity of the Autism community so that we can create more accessible, quality, support and service options for our community.”
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, with one in 36 children receiving a diagnosis. Early diagnosis for children between one and four-years-old has proven to have a significant impact on their lifelong outcomes, as they are fifty times more likely to receive services that support their development through childhood.
5.8 million Autistic adults and another nearly 1.1 million are nearing adulthood in the next few years, effectively aging out of state-funded supports and services. Only about one-third of Autistic adults work in paid jobs for more than 15 hours a week, yet employment plays a pivotal role in transitions to adulthood, independent living, socialization, self-worth and confidence.
The Autism Society and its network of affiliates create impact across the country, and directly within Autism Society Tidewater Virginia, to deliver services and supports throughout the lifespan. This includes Respite nights, Events, Parent web chats, Adult support groups, Information and Refferal, Parent's night out, and Family gatherings.
Last year we provided $20,000 in direct-assitance scholarships through Maci's Ride for local individuals and their families to cover the cost of various supports and services.
We provided information and referral services to 1,981 individuals in 2022.
We hosted over 100 online support group meetings for parents/caregivers and adults with Autism providing vital connections for our community.
We launched our Love on the Spectrum relational training program with participants improving their oeverall skill sets by 15% in just 12 weeks.
Last year, advocates sent 600+ letters to Congress to take action to ban electric shock devices. The Autism Society Tidewater Virginia and partners successfully advocated for critical bills to increase funding and/or supports within the omnibus bill, ABLE Age Adjustment Act, Money Follows the Person, Kevin & Avonte’s Law, and Assistive Technology Act among others.
In the coming year, the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia will be moving our office location to the new Autism Resource Center in Virginia Beach with many of our non-profit parenters to enhance and create even more programs and supports.
Throughout the month of April, the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia will highlight more about these specific initiatives and stories that aim to demonstrate acceptance in action. The Autism Society Tidewater Virginia is encouraging everyone to connect and participate in the #CelebrateDifferences campaign to learn more, share information and personal stories, and join the movement to practice acceptance every day.