The general public is becoming more aware of autism, but there is still a long way to go before common perceptions move beyond basic stereotypes. Autism Awareness Month is a chance for day programs for adults with autism to celebrate their attendees, have fun and try to spread knowledge and understanding at the same time.
The Concept Behind Autism Awareness Month
Autism Awareness Month is a simple concept. Like the months dedicated to other conditions or groups, it is a time when there is an increased focus on this frequently misunderstood condition. People with autism and those who are close to them can attempt to inform and educate the general public about how autism manifests, its impact on people’s lives, and the common misconceptions many people have about autism. Autism Awareness Month started in the last week of March and continues through April.
We have moved on from the days when no one had heard of autism. Diagnosis is easier than it used to be, even for those who are successful at masking in daily life. Now the main challenge is ensuring autism is understood, and people with autism receive the support they need.
For example, many people only conceptualize the most profound forms of autism and may not appreciate those who manage to present as neurotypical, but still need a little help now and again. Some people still think of autism as a disease to be cured rather than a different way of thinking that can enrich society. There are many incorrect stereotypes about whether people with autism can maintain relationships, hold down jobs or even feel empathy.
How can day programs for adults with autism celebrate Autism Awareness Month?
Of course, Autism Awareness Month is not just for the neurotypical. It is a chance for people with autism to celebrate their condition, to display the traits of autism in all their complexities. This should be reflected in day program activities for adults with disabilities. Here are some ideas for a day program for adults with autism to observe Autism Awareness Month.
Wearing badges or ribbons
Day program activities for adults with disabilities can incorporate Autism Awareness Month in a variety of ways. You may have noticed in other awareness months that people wear certain colors or have a ribbon or badge to represent their cause. There is no reason you cannot do that.
Creating posters or presentations
You may also want to produce your own educational materials. Program members can create posters, leaflets, or even PowerPoint presentations where they can explain their autism in their own words. Take normal activities for the group and adjust the focus slightly so they are orientated towards the occasion.
Reaching out to other day programs or organizations
One of the main purposes of Autism Awareness Month is to improve understanding among the neurotypical. This means it is the perfect opportunity to reach out to other groups that may benefit from increased awareness. You could offer to visit their school/office to speak to them or invite them to visit you. Remote communication with computers and video calls may be a more accessible alternative.
Autism Awareness Month is an exciting opportunity for people with autism to celebrate their unique traits whilst improving knowledge of their condition among the general public. Hopefully, this will lead to long-term progress in how individuals with autism are treated by society and allow them more opportunities to live fulfilling lives.