Happy Autism Awareness Month!

As many of you know, April is National Autism Awareness Month and this past April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day. On April 2nd, I posted the following message on LinkedIn:

“When I was two, I was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. I'm not going to be writing an essay, but to say the least, it's been a huge challenge. I used to go to multiple therapies for hundreds of hours a month. I used to think to myself, “why me?” When I was in seventh grade, I was taught the creator vs victim theory. With my Autism, I had to make a choice: continue to mope around and feel like a victim, or create the life that I wanted to live. So in March 2017, I started my blog, www.thejourneythroughautism.com and it was the best decision I ever made. I chose to be a creator. By blogging, I am able to share my personal experiences, insight, and advice to individuals on the spectrum, parents, caregivers, educators, and providers. So today, help me along with the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Autism celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. “Autism isn’t a disability, it's a different ability” - Stuart Duncan"

The United States federal government recognizes the month of April as National Autism Awareness Month in order to educate the public about Autism Spectrum Disorders and certain issues within this special and unique community. Personally, April has always been a special month for me because it is a time where I have the ability to show my colors more than ever. There is no secret that people with Autism are sometimes discriminated against by ignorant individuals. This has certainly gotten better over the years, but there is definitely room for change! That is one of the three main reasons why I started my blog: to educate, advocate, and inspire.

So, here is a list of some things that you can do this month to contribute to National Autism Awareness Month (part of a list published by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia):

1. Raise Awareness About Autism Through Social Media

  • Post about Autism through social media

  • Share inspirational quotes from people on the spectrum

  • Email a guest blog request to an Autism blog, charity, or other organization

2. Join An Autism Awareness Campaign At Your School Or Workplace

  • Post flyers around the school or the office

  • Make a club that promotes awareness

  • If comfortable, share your story

3. Thank The Teachers Or Therapists Who Have Made A Difference In The Life Of A Child With ASD

  • Let them know how much they mean to you in person or through a letter

  • Give a small gift that means something to them

  • Just remember to say “thank you”

4. Make A Donation

  • Donate to a nonprofit Autism charity

  • Donate to an Autism blog

  • Volunteer your time at an Autism charity

5. Wear An Autism Awareness Ribbon Or Pin

  • Wear a visible pin or ribbon to show your support

  • When someone asks about it, take the time to educate

  • Be an advocate for those who cannot be one themselves

6. Learn Something New About Autism

  • If you are a college student, take a class

  • Attend an Autism-related conference

  • Read a blog post written by any Autism blogger

7. Read A Book Related To Autism

  • “Thinking In Pictures” by Dr. Temple Grandin

  • “Uniquely Human: A Different Way Of Seeing Autism” by Dr. Barry Prizant and Thomas Fields-Meyer

  • “Look Me In The Eye” by John Elder Robison

8. Attend An Autism Awareness Event In The Community

  • Join a team at an Autism race

  • Participate in community-driven awareness events

  • Organize an event yourself

9. Spend Time With A Friend Or Family Member Who Has Autism

  • Go out somewhere in the community

  • Participate in one of their hyper focuses

  • Just hang out with them: time means everything

So, go out there and make a difference! Whether you are an individual on the spectrum, parent, caregiver, educator, provider, friend, or anybody else, there is certainly something for you to do. Also, please take the time to share this via social media to promote more Autism awareness!

ANNOUNCEMENT: If you are in the North Carolina area: I will be speaking at the Empower Autism conference on April 14th! Come by to see me speak!

#EthanHirschberg #TheJourneyThroughAutism #April2018 #Autismawarenessmonth #autismawareness #autismawarenessmonth #worldautismawarenessday #autismawarenessday

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