As a parent of a child with autism, you have enough to keep track of. Thinking of celebrating Autism Awareness Month in April may feel overwhelming, but it’s an important way to honor the strength, hope, and perseverance of those in the autism community. Here are 8 easy ways to get involved this April to show your support!
1. Celebrate your child where they are.
Showing love to your child is the most important task you have each day. In the past, many children with autism were kept away from their families and institutionalized. So when you choose to include your child in your family and community, you are setting an example for others to follow. There are many ways to do this, you could:
1. Write a story about your child and share it with our team or other parents to help spread awareness and empathy to families who share similar challenges
2. Help your child start a small business. A great example of this is Made By Brad, a furniture-assembly business owned by a young man with severe autism.
3. Introduce autism-friendly evening activities at home with your child and invite another family to participate.
Whatever way you decide, remember that you are celebrating your child and their achievements.
2. Celebrate Autism Awareness Day/Month.
Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2, 2023, by wearing blue in solidarity with the autism community! Light It Up Blue (LIUB) is Autism Speaks’ annual event to recognize and support the autism community. Buildings, shopping centers, and other landmarks will feature blue lighting, and people all around the world will don blue clothing. Show your support by wearing your family’s favorite blue t-shirts and dresses, and share a photo on social media, in emails, or via text.
Be sure to visit our Raising Autism Awareness article for more ideas on how you can spread awareness and support for children with autism.
3. Consider participating in a fundraising event or making a donation.
The two largest autism advocacy organizations in the United States are Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America. However, those are not the only organizations available. If you would rather donate to a local or grassroots organization, make sure to use a free online vetting tool such as Guidestar to make sure the organization has a good record of managing funds properly. You can also speak to our team about making donations or participating in awareness events in Fairfield County. Spread this information to your friends and family to increase support.
4. Educate Yourself
Educating yourself on autism is the first step in raising awareness and understanding. Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting offers information and training for parents, guardians, and families to help support their loved ones. Take some time to learn how to effectively communicate and interact with individuals with autism. Focus on the successes instead of the struggles of the child during this process. With practice and understanding, you can help others understand what you have learned. Seeking support early on in a child’s development can help both you and your child get the knowledge and assistance you need.
5. Get Involved
As a parent or guardian, there are opportunities for you to grow and learn as well. Solstice Behavioral Health and Consulting offers Parent Training which can be immensely helpful for those who are just beginning this process and those who want to increase their expertise and knowledge. Additionally, Solstice and many other local organizations organize events where parents and advocates can attend and participate alongside other parents and specialists such as Dr. Solandy Forte.
6. Connect with fellow parents by joining a local nonprofit or support group.
Developing individual awareness and advocating for those with autism is essential, yet working together in a group can magnify our knowledge and efforts. To find a local organization that provides support, take a look at the Resource Guide from Autism Speaks and the Autism Source Online Directory from The Autism Society of America.
You can also search your location and “autism support” or “autism non-profit” on Google. As mentioned in the post “A guide to autism support for parents,” nearby families have valuable experience with government programs, school systems, and non-profits, and can help you advocate for your child in the local area. It is much more effective to ask other parents for guidance than to try and tackle the issue independently.
7. Prevent wandering and promote safety.
The tragic reality of injuries and deaths related to wandering in the autism community is occurring far too frequently. The National Autism Association’s AWAARE Collaboration website has a range of safety resources that can help prevent these incidents. Get the free toolkit materials now and take the necessary steps to protect your child; it may even save their life.
8. Begin ABA therapy with your child.
ABA therapy is the autism treatment that has been endorsed by many professional organizations, such as the United States Surgeon General, the American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Autism Society of America. Although our blogs and online tools can be a great resource, ABA therapy is the only thing that has been proven to help improve life skills, social skills, and behavior.
If you’re interested in ABA therapy, contact Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting today. We provide both center-based learning and at-home support with experienced and licensed staff who are committed to providing fun-based ABA therapy that works for your child and your family. To find out more, call (203) 900-4720.