In March of 2021, the Autism Society of America officially announced a shift in terminology from Autism Awareness month to Autism Acceptance Month. The shift in wording is now applicable to what April is now considered. What’s interesting in doing some research was the history of when things really got started with recognition and research related to Autism.
Some key dates that I thought worth sharing include the study of brain tissue to try and understand autism at its root level. The study for this started in 1976 and to this day continues knowing what gets published related to genetics. In 1999, the “puzzle ribbon” was adopted as the Universal sign for Autism Awareness. Again interesting to note, there are articles today written by some who aren’t as supportive of the “puzzle” as it was nearly 24 years ago.
What does not seem to be debated is that April is the month where everyone involved with Autism embraces individuals and supports their efforts to achieve the highest quality of life possible. The month-long acceptance campaign provides an opportunity to highlight some of the challenges individuals and families face together, and how education can serve and advocate on behalf of everyone whose lives are touched.
While Little Friends didn’t start out as a resource dealing with Autism, much of what we do today in terms of services provided is built upon providing necessary support to children, adults, and their families. Autism Acceptance Month in April reminds us of the importance of the work we and others do to be of help. I hope when you see a “blue light,” or a story about an individual dealing with autism, you think good things knowing that there are organizations in place dedicated to the success of those we serve.
Speaking of being dedicated to those we serve, I would be remiss not to mention that in our new Adult Day Programming facility recently acquired, we announced at our gala auction on March 4 that we would be naming the Activity center after our long-time board member and friend Dan Casey. As a Board, we decided for that evening a specific part of the fund-raising, our paddle raise, would all go directly to the renovations and technology needed for the Activity Center. I’m pleased to share that as of today, we have raised for the Activity Center and renovation over $458,000!
We are so thankful, and what a wonderful tribute to a city leader who will be sorely missed! These resources will be put to good use and directly be of help to individuals dealing with Autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities.