By Ellen Garnett
April is a busy month. We have April Fools, Passover, Easter, Patriots Day (aka Marathon Monday here in Boston), and Earth Day to name a few. While we are halfway through April, there is still time to be a part of this year’s National Autism Awareness Month, which is geared toward fostering acceptance and appreciation.
One way to do this is by checking out the Autism Society, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people on the autism spectrum by promoting awareness of the disability, serving as advocates, and educating the public on the latest services and treatments available. Its website provides newcomers with the basics.
“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees,” according to the Autism Society website.
The website goes on to say that autism prevalence in the U.S. has risen in the past decade, from approximately 1 in 150 births in 2007 to 1 in 68 births in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ADDM Autism Prevalence Report. This statistic highlights the actual visibility of people with ASD. With these facts in mind, what are other ways to get involved?
Do you like to shop? If you use Amazon frequently (i.e. to buy textbooks), you can shop AmazonSmile and have 0.5 percent of your purchases donated to the Autism Society by using smile.amazon.com. Get the most bang for your buck AND feel even better about it for supporting a charitable cause.
Enjoy fashion? Check out Bead Relief’s yellow, blue, and red bracelet for the Autism Society. Bead Relief is a company that designs bracelets for a variety of causes. In comparison to Amazon, Bead Relief donates 25 percent of your bracelet purchase.
Do you or someone you know feel the urge to fidget? Chewigem USA offers a selection of silicone chewables for individuals who need extra support to “calm an overly active sensory system.” Chewigem USA will donate 10 percent of its proceeds to the Autism Society.
If you do not have much money to spend, you could volunteer your time at one of the Autism Society chapters in MA or your home state. Visit www.autism-society.org to learn more about how you can educate yourself and take part in National Autism Awareness Month.