April is a month of many celebrations and causes, but one that we would like to highlight is that of Autism Acceptance Month! According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network website, autism is “developmental disability that affects how we experience the world around us”. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that every person faces different challenges and shows a unique set of strengths. The C.D.C. estimates that around 1 in 44 children in the U.S. are affected by the autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Autism Acceptance Month was first celebrated with in 2013. According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the month was changed to include the word “Acceptance”, instead of “Awareness”, so that we can learn about ” a history of campaigns by autistic people and our allies to shift the month’s focus from autism awareness to autism acceptance.”
The tagline for Autism Acceptance Month is, “Acceptance Is An Action”.
Bringing about knowledge of the Autism Spectrum Disorder is a large goal during Autism Acceptance Month, but there are many ways that people can get involved as well. We want everyone to get involved in events hosted by local autistic advocacy organizations. Some of these events focus on getting to know those in the community who have ASD, and some focus on raising funds for local autism awareness organizations. A large focus for the month is to push for education around ASD, which will help “foster acceptance and kindness towards the autistic community”. Some great ways to learn more about ASD are reading books that involve characters who may have autism, reading information on what it means to have autism, or even learning and speaking with people in the local community who have ASD.
Ohio Memory wants to bring about awareness to Autism by featuring a few items in our collection that discuss the disorder and opportunities for those who have it. There are multiple newspapers within the collection that feature articles and stories on Autism and Autism Acceptance Month, formerly known as Autism Awareness Month. We will be featuring two articles in particular; one that focuses on Autism Acceptance Month in the classroom, and another that discusses how students and people in general should be more aware of their language when they are talking about people with disabilities.
Ohio Memory also has a collection of documents from the State Library of Ohio that offers many opportunities for people with disabilities; particularly those with the autism spectrum disorder. The Autism Scholarship Program, which is offered through the Ohio Department of Education, “gives the parents of children with autism who qualify for a scholarship the choice to send the child to a special education program other than the one operated by the school district of residence to receive their education and the services outlines in the child’s individualized education program.” This opportunity gives students with ASD access to specialized education which builds off of their strengths from their disorder, and also gives students access to help for any difficulties they face as well.
Help raise awareness for Autism by visiting the Autistic Self Advocacy Network website at https://autisticadvocacy.org, and check out more Ohio Memory Collections that feature stories on the autism spectrum disorder.
Thank you to Katelyn Toms, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!