Tidewater, Virginia — This April, the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia is inviting its partners, supporters and world-wide community to be the connection this Autism Acceptance Month. Autism Acceptance Month kicks off on April 1, and the Autism Society, Tidewater Virginia is recognizing the multitude of experiences within the Autism community to highlight the critical need for acceptance, inclusion and connections to support people with Autism across the lifespan.
Autism diagnoses are growing, both for children and adults. Last December, the CDC announced that one in 44 children are diagnosed with Autism. Over 7 million people in the United States are on the Autism spectrum. Furthermore, Autism affects people from all racial, ethnic and socio-economic standings. The increased Autism prevalence rate stress the urgent need for equitable access to diagnostic evaluations, and early interventions that have a significant impact on lifelong outcomes. Read their stories on social media through the #CelebrateDifferences hashtag. No family or individual’s story is the same as any other, and the Autism Society, Tidewater Virginia believes the world should recognize the infinite ways the Autism community experiences life. Recognizing how connected we all are in our differences, strengths and challenges can be what unites us instead of divides us.
“Autism Acceptance Month is an opportunity to advocate and practice acceptance for the Autism community through inclusion, support and connection.” said Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. “ No matter who you are, where you
live, or your abilities, you should be able to have the connection to supports, services, community and resources needed to live fully.”
The Autism Society Tidewater Virginia aims to serve the entire Autism community and their loved ones with connections to the support they need, when they need it. From Autistic individuals who require 24/7 lifetime support services with their caregivers, to Autistic self-advocates living fully independent lives, no single experience is the same as another. Acceptance and inclusion are critical to ensuring everyone in the Autism community can access what they need to live to their fullest extent possible. This is vital to improving opportunities in inclusive education, employment, housing, health care, and long-term services and supports for individuals with Autism, no matter where they are in life’s journey.
The Autism Society Tidewater Virginia offers five core services: advocacy, education, information and referrals, support, and community. Last year, the network:
We provided $20,000 in direct-assistance scholarships to families to cover therapies, respite care, technologies, summer camps and other support needs of Individuals with Autism.
We hosted over 200 online and in-person educational, support and social group meetings providing vital support during the ongoing pandemic and crisis.
We improved our statewide advocacy initiatives and increased the engagement of our local community members with statewide legislative priorities, including expanding the Virginia Autism Alert Program.
We added a part-time resource coordinator and a part-time virtual programs facilitator, both individuals are Autistic self-advocates who bring a direct connection the community that we serve.
About Autism Society Tidewater Virginia
The Autism Society Tidewater Virginia's mission is to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully. As an affiliate of the nation’s oldest leading grassroots Autism organizations, our organization has served thousands of local members of the Autism Community for the past 41 years. We envision a world where everyone in the Autism community is connected to the support they need, when they need it – including education, advocacy efforts, and supports and services throughout the lifespan. Because, the connection is you. ™
This Autism Acceptance Month, the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia has a goal to fundraise $55,000 to create connections for the Autism community.