Autism Acceptance Month | Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

April is Autism Acceptance Month, a month that until recently was referred to as Autism Awareness Month. Today, many agree that we have moved beyond general awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder and strive instead to work toward acceptance and understanding.  As the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, with an estimated 1 in 36 children identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder, fostering acceptance and understanding of autism is not only vital to our OPWDD mission, but also to the integrity of our communities and society.

So, as we continue to ask people to Look Beyond people’s developmental disabilities this month, we are mindful that many of the faces featured in this campaign are those of people with autism, each one a person with unique talents, ambitions and experiences that they bring to the world. While the characteristics of autism are not always visible, it often impacts people’s lives in ways we need to keep striving to understand. We need to continue to find ways to support people with autism to succeed and thrive. With this in mind, this month we will share facts and resources that can better help people understand autism and fully accept autistic people. We’ll let you know how OPWDD supports and services benefit people with autism and how our Institute for Basic Research continues to make inroads into understanding this complex disorder.

In addition, as we continue to receive personal I Am messages to share on our social media channels this month, we’re also inviting people to consider sending us their own I Am message proclaiming their autism as a fact about themselves and simply one part of who they are. There is such power in saying things out loud, power to change perceptions.

I look forward to a month of learning and accepting, and I hope you will join us as we embark on this educational journey.

Kerri E. Neifeld 

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