Since the 1970s, April has widely been known as Autism Awareness Month, dedicated to empowering autistic individuals and families. Last year, the Autism Society of America (ASA), along with other leading disability organizations across the country, called for a shift in language to match the growing need for acceptance within our communities.
The shift to Autism Acceptance Month aims to foster acceptance to ignite change through improved support and opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care, and comprehensive long-term services. Autism community advocates across the country have a long-standing history of using the term “acceptance” as a means of more fully integrating those 1 in every 44 Americans with autism into our communities. At the Autism Society Central Virginia, we will always take meaningful action to spread awareness, but we also believe it is imperative to aim beyond awareness and strive for acceptance and inclusion in our local community.
April represents an invaluable opportunity to share stories and resources, educate others about autism and issues within the autism community, and drive home the importance of acceptance. We look forward to sharing important information, valuable resources, and engaging activities throughout the month, and we hope you will join us!
Join us for our 2022 AAM Campaign!
Throughout the month, we will be featuring stories from members of our local autism community in a “Humans of the ASCV campaign”, inspired by Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York”. Autistic individuals, caregivers, family members, and professionals are invited to participate. Share your story with us!
Ways You Can Help Spread Awareness & Promote Acceptance
Throughout the month, we hope you will join us in spreading awareness, promoting acceptance, and igniting change here in Central Virginia. Here are some things you can do:
- Participate in our AAM campaign (above) – consider creating a social media post and including #ASCVAAM2022!
- Share facts to help people learn about autism.
- Read books about autism.
- Watch a TV show, documentary, or movie with autistic actors or characters with autism.
- Find a creative way to display information about acceptance – create a bulletin board in your home or office, a sign in your window or yard, or a sidewalk chalk message in your driveway.
- Contact your local representatives to educate them about autism and advocate for funding to support high quality services and programming for individuals with autism. You can do this by sharing your story, your legislative priorities, and how your representative can impact your family.
- Invite the ASCV to do a presentation on autism at your school, office, community center, church, etc. Email us to schedule a date and time!
Support the ASCV and Our Local Autism Community
During AAM, we partner with local businesses to host events and raise funds to support the ASCV. Here’s how you can support the ASCV this April:
- Form a team for the 20th Anniversary ASCV Challenge, 5K & Family Fun Day and fundraise together. Visit ascv5K.org to register. The Challenge kicks off on April 14!
- Create a Facebook fundraiser for the ASCV. Share why the ASCV is so important to you, and how the funds you raise will support our local individuals with autism and their families with important programming and resources. Make a video or piece of art to accompany the fundraiser and share with friends and family through email.
- Join the ASCV! Visit https://ascv.org/membership/ to learn more about our membership options, including our new Professional Membership!
- Support us through Amazon Smile. If you shop on Amazon, register for Amazon Smile and choose the Autism Society Central Virginia as your charity. A portion of the cost of what you purchase will be donated to the ASCV. Simple and easy! From supporters shopping Amazon Smile October 1 to December 31, 2021, the ASCV received $470!
- Participate in the Kroger Rewards Program. To register, log into your account, then search for the Autism Society Central Virginia (#LS065) and click “enroll.” After you enroll, anytime you use your Kroger Rewards card, your purchase will count toward the ASCV. (From December 2020 through February of 2021, 42 households donated $290 to the ASCV!)