Autism Awareness Month 2017
April is National Autism Awareness month, a time of intense focus on children and adults living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With the CDC declaring that 1 in 68 children may be impacted by ASD, it’s a fair bet that each one of us knows someone with autism or someone who has a family member or friend with autism. Lots of people are talking about challenges to be overcome – but here at Arc of Westchester, we choose to focus on accomplishments to be achieved. We work toward the goal of full inclusion in our community, showing, by example, that everyone benefits when individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, become productive members of society.
On April 2, The United Nations has declared an awareness day with a 2017 theme "Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination". This is also a day to "light it up blue" and join the world in celebrating the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. Use #LIUB to share your experience across social media and help light the world up blue this April! Find out which major global landmarks will light up blue in 2017.
Arc of Westchester is proud to say that we continue to be ahead of this initiative. Five years ago, we began our work with Westchester’s Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism in partnership with NEXT for Autism (formerly New York Collaborates for Autism,) This innovative program helped young men and women with autism receive hands-on career training and a proven path to successful employment opportunities in the community. Graduates have found successful job placements in prestigious local businesses like Regeneron, Home Depot, Dannon, Jackson Lewis LLP and with government agencies such as the Yonkers District Attorney’s office, to name only a few. Registration for the 2017-2018 program is now open. Click here for information and registration details.
We have also taken the steps to introduce our staff to the methods of teaching used by the University of North Carolina's TEACCH® Autism Program. The program is based on understanding each individual's strength and working together to achieve success. Many of the successful techniques are applied to work, school and home environments for students and adults with autism.
Individuals with Autism should be embraced as vital, productive members of our community who earn a living wage, participate in meaningful activities and develop supportive friendships. Many organizations, including The Arc of the US, have developed programs to help individuals with autism live fully productive lives.
This month is a time for us to educate our community about autism. Spreading autism awareness is a great way to celebrate April and promote inclusion and acceptance in our world for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Use the hashtag #AutismAwarenessMonth on twitter and be sure to wear blue on April 2nd - World Autism Awareness Day!
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Be sure to read the latest AUTISM SPECTRUM NEWS and read article on page 7 "Technology Makes Things Possible" written by Arc of Westchester's Jordan Jankus, Coordinator of Person-Centered and Cognitive Supports.
Mark your calendar and attend our May 19th conference on Tech Supports for Cognition & Learning at Mercy College. Get event details here.