April 5, 2021
Autism Society of Greater New Orleans builds an inclusive society for the autism community to live fully through connection and acceptance.
This month, The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans celebrates differences as it works to build an inclusive society where individuals with autism live fully through connection and acceptance. The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans is advocating for lawmakers to federally and globally designate April as Autism Acceptance Month (AAM), a shift from the commonly used phrase “Autism Awareness Month.” They have successfully advocated alongside the other Autism Society affiliates of Louisiana for Governor Edwards to issue a proclamation declaring April to be Autism Acceptance Month in Louisiana.
“While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter — the need for acceptance is greater than ever, as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life,” states Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. “Many individuals and organizations recognize April as “Autism Acceptance Month” and we hope that our advocacy efforts can officially designate April as such, and create language consistency across this community.”
This name change will build momentum around the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans mission for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and to become more inclusive in everyday life. Designed to build awareness of the realities of autism, #CelebrateDifferences encourages autistic individuals and their families to live full, quality lives through connection and acceptance. #IAmMe is introduced to empower autistic individuals by highlighting strengths. The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans challenges its audience to share photos of themselves doing a favorite activity, to showcase pride and promote acceptance.
“Progress towards fostering a culture of acceptance begins with each member of our community accepting autistic individuals for who they are. When we do not practice acceptance, we send the message that the individual is not valued.” Says Dr. Lisa Settles, Psy. D., President of the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans. “Fostering acceptance in our community is critically important to improving opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care and comprehensive long-term services and supports.”
In the United States, the autism prevalence rate has risen from 1 in 125 children in 2010, to 1 in 54 in 2021–recognizing this continued increase, The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans’ goal for AAM is to further increase awareness about autism signs, symptoms and opportunities through: information and referrals, events, printable and digital resources, and community partnerships. Awareness leads to acceptance, which is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system throughout the lifespan.
As stated by their President Dr. Settles, the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans understands the importance of fostering acceptance to ignite change through improved support and opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care and comprehensive long-term services and supports.
Throughout the month of April, the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans will share resources designed to inform and encourage communities to celebrate differences, and become more inclusive of individuals with autism. The campaign will overlap with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, and continue throughout the month. These resources will be made available on social media for sharing as well as on asgno.org for download.
Learn how you can #CelebrateDifferences by visiting asgno.org to learn more.
Autism Society of Greater New Orleans Facts
The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans’ mission is to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We support our community through our free information and referral service, our free virtual support and social programs, and by providing educational information. We seek to continue to expand the services and supports we offer to our community. All funds donated to our organization stay in the Greater New Orleans area to help families.
2020 By the Numbers:
- 305 area families and individuals helped through our I&R program
- Over $100,000 distributed to area families and teachers through our Mini-Grant Program over the last 10 years
- 60 Participants given the opportunity for social interaction and support through our virtual programming
- 11,158 people helped by our free COVID-19 Resource Page