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 2ndWorld 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. While the disorder is often diagnosed in childhood and is marked by developmental delays, it can also be seen in older children and adults. 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 has started her own YouTube talk show, been a guest on the Colbert Report, and 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.” In recognition of Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities’ (GCPD) Accessibility and Disability Policy Webinar Series will host two webinars that will cover areas crucial to building success for people with autism—Making Employment a Reality on April 20th at 10 a.m., and Empowerment: Building Success with Employees with Autism on April 29th at 10 a.m.
Read more here: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/disabilities