5 Ways to Support Autism Acceptance Month

Autism Acceptance Month

Autism Acceptance Month

It’s April, and during this month at Healing Haven, we, along with many others, celebrate Autism Acceptance Month. And seventeen years ago, the United Nations established April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day.

However, autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), isn’t new. According to the CDC the prevalence rate of autism is 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with ASD. In other words, autism is more common than many may realize!

In 2021 Autism Awareness Month changed to be called Autism Acceptance Month. With autism becoming more common, the shift from awareness to acceptance is important. Awareness goes only so far and without action is meaningless.

So how can we take action?

1. Learn about Autism

Considering the diagnosis statistics, you probably know at least one child or family impacted by autism. Autism is a developmental disorder that can impair communication and social interaction. Individuals with autism often display repetitive behaviors, obsessive interests, communication challenges and may have learning difficulties. However, autism is a broad spectrum, and individuals can have a vast array of abilities and struggles.

Likewise, it’s important to know that not all individuals with autism look or act a certain way. Some may express themselves in a distinctly different way than most neurotypical people, whether through body language, speech, or body movements. But for many, you may not even know they have autism. Nevertheless, just because an individual’s autism may not be noticeable doesn’t mean they don’t have unique needs.

Check out these resources to continue your autism self-education:

Autism Alliance of Michigan


National Autism Association


2. Reach Out and Listen to Parents of a Child with Autism

Parents who have a child with autism often battle stress and isolation. Their child may be prone to challenging behavior outside of a strict routine, thus disrupting gatherings, which means invitations to social events may not be plentiful.

Invite a parent of a child with autism out to coffee or a meal and be a listening ear. Ask questions to learn how you can support them. Invite their family over and prepare any accommodations needed for their child. These actions will show parents you care.

3. Talk to Children about Accepting Individuals Who are Different

You may be out with your child and see another child engaging in stereotypical “autistic” behaviors. Children (and adults) often stare and feel uncomfortable. Instead of telling your child to stop staring, use the experience as an opportunity for discussion. You could say, “It looks like he/she is feeling happy/sad. Sometimes, people show how they feel in different ways. What do you do when you feel (insert emotion)?”

Additionally, your child may have an autistic classmate. Discuss how we all have differences, and some differences are more noticeable than others. Together, come up with ways to befriend them and include them in activities.

4. Recognize Strengths Rather than just Difficulties of People with ASD

While autistic individuals face many challenges, as well as their parents, their challenges do not define them. In fact, people with ASD often possess many incredible strengths and unique traits. For example, people with autism often have intense interests in one area, such as animals, music, or numbers. Autistic people’s passion for these interests can take them far in life and many have succeeded in great ways. And this story of one of our clients (and his Behavior Technician) learning to play the piano in our clinic is sure to encourage you.

People with autism can also possess a plethora of positive qualities such as the ability to deeply focus, fact retention, attention to detail, and high intelligence. They are complex and gifted individuals who offer a unique perspective of the world.

5. Advocate for Parents and Individuals

Show your support in social settings involving individuals with autism or parents of children with autism. If a parent is trying to access accommodations for their child in a school, religious or community setting, advocate for them. Listen and share your voice to help influence the decision makers.

Throughout this month, how will you look for ways to advocate for those with autism? You can even make it a family challenge and discuss what you discover.

Be sure to check out the blogs listed below for further education on autism and support for parents. We are in their corner and yours as we work toward a world with more awareness and acceptance.

Additional Reading on Autism Acceptance:

Autism Acceptance and Changing Perceptions

Never Underestimate Individuals with Autism