By: Gisselle Venable
Autism is a disorder that affects around 2.2 percent of all American adults. That number may seem small, but it makes up an estimated 5,437,988 people! The autism community has made great strides and accomplishments in the world, so a month of recognition and appreciation is well deserved.
Autism Acceptance Month first began in 1970 under the name Autism Awareness Month, but in recent years, the community changed the name to remove any negative connotations. Rather than simply being made aware of the disorder, the autistic community wanted to turn it into a celebration of diversity and self; a month of acceptance.
The Disability Support Services offers a number of accommodations for students with autism, including the Titans Autism Spectrum Program. The program aims to help students on the spectrum through a curriculum of monthly one-on-one meetings and social activities. These activities allow the students to be pushed forward both academically and socially. Autism often affects social skills, so it’s especially important to offer these resources to those that need them.
Unfortunately, many of the misconceptions of the past surrounding the disorder still exist today, but that only serves as more of a reason to have a month advocating for all the wonderful people in the community.
Autism, like many things, is a spectrum. Each and every individual is different, and that is something to be celebrated and accepted. This month and every month, remember to approach others with kindness and an open mind – you may find more similarities than you expect.