Acceptance - Words Matter
The Autism Society of Greater Akron (ASGA) joins the Autism Society of America and its sister affiliates across the country in leading efforts to change April from “Autism Awareness Month,” to “Autism Acceptance Month.” April has widely been known as “Autism Awareness Month” in the United States as a way to empower individuals with autism and their families. In Ohio, April has been Autism Awareness Month officially since 2008.
“Words matter,” said Laurie Cramer, “Accepting people for who they are and their individuality fosters a community that values everyone’s contributions, opening doors to improved education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care and comprehensive long-term services and supports.”
ASGA will #CelebrateDifferences throughout April with a variety of activities aimed at increasing understanding of autism in the community.
“We are proud that Ohio is a leader among states,” continued Cramer, “Gov. DeWine issued a proclamation today recognizing April as ‘Autism Acceptance Month’ in Ohio. The proclamation states, ‘the purpose of Autism Acceptance Month in Ohio is to spread awareness, foster acceptance, and identify the public policy improvements needed for people with autism to live fully across all areas of life.’”
Cramer continued, “We also thank Reps. Bob Young (R-Green) and Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) for introducing joint bipartisan legislation (Read the Bill - H.B. 242) that designates April as Autism Acceptance Month in Ohio, and upholds the principles of the initiative stating acceptance is the first step to inclusion (see joint statement below).
“It’s exciting that we live in a time when there is a true focus on what inclusion means,” Cramer concluded. “For the autism community, inclusion means individuals with autism live, work, and play in our community, but still experience challenges due to a lack of understanding the characteristics of autism and the attitudinal and environmental accommodations that are often needed to take advantage of all our community has to offer to the fullest extent of an individual’s ability level. Our efforts must continue beyond proclamations, also accepting the hard work it takes to truly be an inclusive community.”