Creating Communities of Belonging for Individuals with Autism and Their Families
The month of April is recognized worldwide as a time to shine a light on autism. Many terms are used to describe April as Autism Month. You may hear Autism Awareness, Autism Acceptance, Autism Appreciation and Belonging. These are all terms that shape this conversation. No matter how you define it, it is still important to recognize what autism means to each individual and family. Awareness of the fact that every person and every family experiences autism differently is the foundation for greater understanding. For some individuals, autism is a strength and can be an asset. For others, who have more significant challenges and support needs, autism can be very difficult for the person with autism and their family and caregivers to navigate. Awareness is just the start. Awareness can be the first step leading to acceptance, appreciation, and creating a place of belonging for individuals and families living with autism.
Let us also use this time as a call to action. We need to foster communities of belonging for all individuals with autism and their families...no matter where they are on the spectrum or on their journey living with autism. This applies in our own homes, schools, public and private organizations, and our communities. The work that needs to be done will vary from person to person. The spectrum of themes and issues related to autism is quite broad. There may be areas related to autism in which you consider yourself an expert and others where you may be a novice. April is a great time to explore new areas to help strengthen your own understanding and appreciation so you can help create communities for belonging for all people with autism and their families.