The first National Autism Awareness Month was declared by the Autism Society in April 1970. Over the intervening years, our understanding of autism has grown and we’ve begun to recognize the importance of autism awareness and acceptance. In 2007, the United Nations declared April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day. The theme for 2019 is “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation.” Affordable assistive technologies are a prerequisite to full inclusion for many people with autism.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation recognizing April as Autism Awareness Month, noting, “Texas is home to roughly 500,000 people with autism. . .[who] have the same desires as all Texans – to be self-determined, work and earn a living, practice their faith, and be included in their community.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 59 children meet the criteria for an autism diagnosis. The disorder is often diagnosed in childhood, is marked by developmental delays, and typically a life-long diagnosis. Early identification is critical, as it allows for people to gain access to the educational and support environments that best suit their needs.
People with autism are capable of achieving remarkable things, which is why it is crucial that we work towards autism awareness and acceptance. People such as Carly Flesichmann stand as reminders of the importance of moving beyond awareness. Diagnosed with severe, nonverbal autism, Carly was able to find her voice through the use of assistive technology. She started her own YouTube talk show, has been a guest on the Colbert Report, and has written a memoir. Dr. Temple Grandin is a woman with autism who was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and speaks movingly of the potential of people with “differently-abled brains.”
Read more here: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/disabilities