Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month 2021
Every April we celebrate Autism Awareness Month, with World Autism Awareness Day sanctioned by the UN to be on April 2 every year. This year in particular there is a push to change the name to Autism Acceptance Month. The new name and designation of April to officially be recognized have been submitted to the federal government in an effort to bring more attention to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the needs of the people and families who are affected by it.
Although autism rates have been significantly increasing, there is still a long way to go to understand autism. As the name of the official diagnosis suggests, it’s a spectrum. There are so many unique and beautiful ways that autism presents itself. Some of the traits are more common and some less, but without greater awareness and acceptance of autism, the individuals and families affected will continue to be misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and misrepresented.
World Autism Awareness Day
In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
The World Autism Day 2021 theme revolves around inclusion in the workplace, and how the opportunities and challenges have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and heightened glaring inequalities around the world, especially when it comes to income and wealth distribution, access to health care, protection under the law, and political inclusion. Persons with autism have long faced many of these inequalities, which have only been further exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s a problem made worse by long recognized discriminatory hiring practices and workplace environments that present major obstacles for persons with autism; all of which contribute to the unemployment or severe underemployment of a large majority of adults on the autism spectrum.” – UN Website
The UN had a virtual event and panel to address these issues.
Autism Awareness Month vs Autism Acceptance Month
Although there has for a while been a call by certain groups to use Autism Acceptance Month rather than the more well-known Autism Awareness Month, one thing is for certain – more awareness AND acceptance is needed.
The debates over the name of the month, the autism awareness ribbon, symbol, puzzle piece, colors, shirts, shoes, bracelets, logo, etc pale in comparison to the real issues that need to be addressed.
April is about bringing awareness, attention, and focus to topics that affect those with autism and their families. While higher functioning teens and adults with autism have certain needs they want to be addressed, there is also a growing number of families with children, young and old, on the other end of the spectrum whose needs are significantly different from the self-advocates.
Both awareness and acceptance are vital to helping children, teens, and adults with autism thrive and realize a better quality of life and integration into the community. Awareness is the key to protecting children who are non-verbal, unable to understand when something is dangerous, and prone to wandering. Greater awareness helps to educate teachers, therapists, government agencies, communities, and police departments to better support autistic children and families.
Acceptance, on the other hand, is a necessity for those who are integrated into society and seek equality and support within the education system and workplace. Inclusion is a major issue facing those with special needs, as well as accommodations to help individuals with autism live high quality, independent lives.
Autism Acceptance & Awareness Month 2021
As a company that celebrates autism awareness and acceptance year-round, AngelSense wants to do our part to shed light on the wonderful world of autism and help families not only protect their loved ones with ASD, but also help them to support their children to realize greater independence than ever believed possible.
As the only Autism GPS Tracker & Safety Solution made for autism parents by autism parents, AngelSense is dedicated to providing people with autism maximum safety, independence, and peace of mind to their parents and caregivers.
Here’s a series of articles that delve into what autism is, how it impacts those affected, specific concerns and challenges, autism safety products and solutions, and insight into what the future holds for autism.
Autism Awareness Month: Autism Facts & Statistics
An indication that Autism Awareness is so important, is that there are very few studies and reports regarding autism. The most recent exhaustive study was performed in 2016. There are smaller studies and research being done, but not to the same scale as the growth of the population of people affected.
The number of people with autism has grown exponentially over the past decades, to a staggering 1:54 kids now being diagnosed throughout the US based on the CDC 2016 study. The American Academy of Pediatrics parent-reported study shows a prevalence of 1 in 40. It is also known that autism is underdiagnosed, if corrected the numbers would be even higher.
Coming Soon: Read our full post: Autism Awareness Month: Autism Statistics & Facts
Autism Awareness Month: Autism Diagnosis & Traits
A central topic that Autism Awareness Month aims to shed light on is the several common and unique traits and challenges that people with autism live with on a daily basis. Understanding autism more thoroughly will help communities and families better support people diagnosed with any of the varying degrees of ASD.
Autism is also an often underdiagnosed condition, especially in girls and minorities. Without proper diagnosis, thousands of children are not getting the care and support they need. Also, because autism is a spectrum and the traits can vary so significantly and also in severity, a viable one-size-fits-all support solution would be impossible to achieve. In addition to this, many people with autism are diagnosed with other conditions as well that must be taken into consideration when discussing treatment and therapy plans.
Coming Soon: Read more in our full post: Autism Awareness Month: Autism Diagnosis & Traits
Autism Awareness Month: Autism Wandering & Safety
Families with children who have autism often face unique safety challenges. Among these are wandering, inability to communicate verbally, and no awareness of danger. There are more autism safety products on the market than ever before and with more awareness and understanding of these autism safety concerns, we will hopefully see better solutions for this underserved population.
Autism Wandering is life-threatening and a serious safety concern that requires much more attention and awareness. Today, nearly 50% of those with Autism will wander, elope or run. This is not just an isolated safety concern. For those who have a child diagnosed with wandering it is a life-threatening daily challenge. Every parent worries about the safety of their children, but imagine if your child is prone to quickly taking off without notice, is a master of escaping the most secure home or school, and has no awareness of danger.
AngelSense GPS for Autism was designed by autism parents for autism parents specifically to address this issue. After trying to find a solution to protect their children, the founders of AngelSense realized that none of the GPS products on the market could truly keep their vulnerable loved ones safe.
Many people are unaware of the challenges of raising a child with a wandering diagnosis.
Coming Soon: To learn more about autism eloping and other safety concerns read: Autism Awareness Month: Wandering & Safety
Autism Acceptance Month: Autism Inclusion & Independence
Autism acceptance is crucial for positive outcomes for children with autism. Inclusion is not only an important part of growing and learning, it is also important for building self-esteem and confidence. Due to safety risks, many children with autism are excluded from activities with their typical peers, for example not being able to go on field trips. This fosters a sense of isolation and being different and not as worthy as other children.
Furthermore, nurturing independence is known to have a significant impact on the well-being of children with autism. This can be difficult when considering the serious safety risks involved, but given the right support, it is not only feasible but a necessity for fostering long-term independence and access to the community.
Coming Soon: Learn more about autism independence and inclusion: Autism Acceptance Month: Autism Inclusion & Independence
Autism Acceptance Month: Autism Transition & Employment
As children with autism get older, the support needed and challenges faced change. Transitions can be difficult for any child but are especially trying for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Many of whom, age out of programs and are left without proper support.
It’s important to address the unique struggles that teens and young adults face when coming of age, desiring more freedom, graduating or aging out of school programs, and entering the workforce.
Coming Soon: To learn more read: Autism Acceptance Month: Autism Transition & Employment
Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month: Autism Beyond 2021
Fortunately, efforts to more fully understand and support people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families are continuing to increase. Local governments and communities are becoming more aware of the necessity for better programs, assistance, and services. However, there is still a long way to go.
Federal and state legislation is still lacking when it comes to truly supporting this growing population. Many school districts are not fully aware of the challenges and safety concerns, denying children the inclusion and measures needed to support them and keep them safe.
Coming Soon: Learn more about how to support those with autism: Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month: Autism Beyond 2021
About AngelSense GPS Tracker for Autism
AngelSense is a GPS Tracker for Kids that was specially designed for autism and special needs. It is a comprehensive safety solution that has an array of features to provide the highest level of safety and well-being for those who are most vulnerable. It supports independence, inclusion, and integration without compromising safety… Giving parents much-needed peace of mind.