Since the 1970s, April has widely been known as Autism Awareness Month, dedicated to empowering autistic individuals and families. This year, the Autism Society of America (ASA), along with other leading disability organizations across the country, is calling for a shift in language to match the growing need for acceptance within our communities. We are joining the ASA, renaming this special month to Autism Acceptance Month.

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. 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.

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 54 Americans living with autism into our communities. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has been framing April as Autism Acceptance Month since 2011, stating, “Acceptance of autism as a natural condition in the human experience is necessary for real dialogue to occur.” 

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 2021 AAM Campaign!

AuSome Campaign Flyer

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 #ASCVAAM2021!
  • Add the ASCV AAM Profile Frame to your Facebook profile picture: click “update” on your profile picture, click “add frame,” then search for ASCV AAM!
  • Share facts to help people learn about autism.
      • Click here for an autism fact sheet for younger children.
      • Click here for an autism fact sheet for teenagers. 
      • Click here for autism fact cards and quotes to place around the community – in classrooms, offices, grocery stores, car windshields, etc.
  • Read books about autism.
      • Click here for a list of preschool and elementary school book recommendations.
      • Click here for a list of middle/high school book recommendations.
  • Watch a TV show, documentary, or movie with autistic actors or characters with autism.
      • Click here for a list of TV and film recommendations.
  • Send a note of appreciation to an ausome individual in your life who inspires you.
      • Click here to download our AAM postcards.
  • 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. Click here to find the contact information for your legislators.
  • Invite 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 AuSome 54-Day Challenge and fundraise together. Visit ausomechallenge.org to register.  The Challenge kicks off on April 12!
  • 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.
  • Order a DIY Cookie Decorating kit from Aidyn’s Caring Cookies – 100% of proceeds will support the ASCV through Challenge team On Your Mark.  
  • Order from The Eatery in Carytown during April!  Mention “ASCV” with your purchase and The Eatery will donate 20% of proceeds.  Valid for in-person, phone, and online purchases.  TheEateryRichmond.com
  • Paint Wine and Good Times will be giving 10% off for those that use the coupon code “AA0421” for Autism Acceptance Month throughout  April 2021!! Just click on SHOP and then SEASONAL to access the deal.  Paint Wine and Good Times will Donate 10% of all proceeds earned from all of the “Autism Acceptance” art sold to the ASCV.  http://www.paintwineandgoodtimes.com/
  • Order from Marco’s Pizza during the AuSome 54-Day Challenge!  From April 12-June 4, Marco’s will donate 20% of ASCV net sales, and on June 5, they will be donating 50%!  Mention “ASCV” for phone orders, and for online orders, click the “fundraisers” tab and add the ASCV fundraiser to your cart.  All 5 area locations are participating.  marcos.com
  • Shop for Good with Kendra Scott April 17th and 18th!  Visit in-store 4/17 from 11am-1pm and mention code GIVEBACK-172, or shop online anytime 4/17 and 4/18 with code GIVEBACK-172 and 20% of your purchase will support the ASCV.  kendrascott.com
  • Shop at Good Sports Disc Golf throughout April and Good Sports will donate $1 for every order to the ASCV.  goodsportsdiscgolf.com
  • 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, 2020, the ASCV received $460!
  • 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 $308 to the ASCV!)

Kendra Gives Back:  Shop for Good Online & In-Store at Kendra Scott
Shop in-store April 17 from 11am to 1pm
and online April 17 and 18
and 20% of your purchase will benefit the ASCV

Use code GIVEBACK-172 in-store or online at kendrascott.com.

For more specific information about the ideas included above,  email us at [email protected].