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This April Many Are Seeking More Than Awareness For Autism

Many families want Autism Awareness Month to bring acceptance too.

April has been designated as a month to increase awareness of autism. Monday, April 2, is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism Speaks sponsors an event called Light It Up Blue. Buildings around the world are blue “to help shine a light on autism.”

Thanks to social media I read many other blogs and comments about autism all year long. Many are no longer concerned with raising awareness. They feel we are ready to take the next step. They want to increase acceptance. They want those that are neuro-typical to understand what those who have an autistic spectrum disorder cope with each day. They want their loved ones to not have to constantly work so hard to fit into a world that does not understand how they see it.

That is what Patch lets this column do—raise acceptance along with awareness. If you read a story about Peter struggling with his senses you may not judge the next child that melts down in a playground or at a show. You may take an extra moment to talk with someone even if that person does not give you eye contact. You may know why a Mom is a bit more frazzled than Moms can get on any given day.

Westchester County has many events happening throughout the month of April to raise awareness and understanding for autism.

  • The Westchester County Department of Public Safety, Department of Emergency Services, Police Academy, Chiefs of Police Association, and The Town of Greenburgh are sponsoring a first of its kind trainer conference on Tuesday, March 27, “First Responders and Individuals with Autism: Averting Crises and Preventing Disastrous Consequences” at the Greenburgh Public Library from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Autism Speaks is sponsoring Light It Up Blue as part of its activities on World Autism Awareness Day. Learn about all their events on their website.
  • Navigating the Spectrum and The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health are sponsoring The Sixth Annual Autism Information Fair at the Westchester County Center in White Plains on Sunday, April 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day includes an All Day Children’s Room, information stations about a variety of topics and a panel discussion on DSM changes.

These very different events give insight and support, not just to those with the disorder, but those who deal with autism as a part of life. According to Temple Grandin, Ph.D.,’s mother, Eustacia Cutler, “Autism is a neurological disorder that creates social disorder, first and foremost, in the family.”

She says this not to be negative, but to explain the rippling effects of autism. That is the awareness and acceptance that need to grow this April. Taking little steps to walk in others’ shoes on April 2 can make a difference in the future to all those that have autism as a part of their lives every day.

As a part of this month I will have guest blogs from other family members on More Little Things. Visit to see how they deal with the little things.

Minmi March 26, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Autism Speaks is not a pro-autistic organisation. It's an organisation that plays on the fears of parents and is run by the most paranoid of those parents. Don't fall for its superficial charm.
Shirley Barkasy March 27, 2012 at 01:30 PM
My son is now 30 years old & still lives with us in our home in NH. When he was first diagnosed, the number of autistic individuals born was 1 in 10,000... why now is it 1 in 110? My 14 year old grandson has Asperger's also but I'm not really sure if it is a genuine genetic connection or just that some individuals are subject to environmental or vaccine components.
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization that seeks to support all those who struggle with autism. We have helped to pass insurance reform in 29 states, have raised awareness and acceptance of autism around the world and funded over $173 million to research the causes, better diagnoses and more effective treatments for autism. We are proud to support Patrice and the work she is doing to elevate levels of acceptance and understanding surrounding autism. Wonderful article!
Adina Frydman March 28, 2012 at 02:02 PM
For the readers who are interested in learning more Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Fifth Annual UJA-Federation of New York Hilibrand Autism Symposium Culture and Community: Exploring the Changing Dynamics of Living with Autism To register go to http://www.ujafedny.org/event/view/fifth-annual-hilibrand-autism-symposium/ As children with autism transition into late-adolescence and adulthood, society must re-examine and attune its understanding of how these individuals and their families will seek fulfillment in life's activities — such as working, studying, socializing, and volunteering. The culture in which one is a member plays a vital role in how an individual with autism is embraced by the community, as well as what supportive services they receive. Dr. Richard Grinker will provide a keynote address focusing on how various international cultures define autism, as well as some best practices regarding service delivery, advocacy, and community awareness he has uncovered through his worldly research. Keynote Address Roy Richard Grinker, Ph.D., Anthropologist, Professor, Parent, and Author of Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism "Cultural Perspectives on the Social Lives of Individuals with Autism"
Patrice E. Athanasidy September 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Thank you all for the support. Unfortunately, the column will no longer be running. If you would like to keep following these stories, please visit http://patriceitsthelittlethings.wordpress.com

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