Autism Awareness month is here. April is thought to be the month for raising awareness for autism. However, it does not end there. Autism acceptance and understanding are arguably equally, if not more important.
Here are 10 Ways to Increase Autism Acceptance:
1. Become an Autism Acceptance Ambassador!
Join teachers, parents, and autistic individuals worldwide and become an Autism Acceptance Ambassador. Get more information here!
2. Light it up Blue! Tone it Down Taupe! Or RED Instead!
Today is April 2. The day to Light it Up Blue. Originally started by Autism Speaks in 2010 to raise awareness of autism, many actually autistic individuals prefer to Tone it Down Taupe or RED Instead to show acceptance and understanding of individuals of autism. Regardless if you support Autism Speaks, wear a color and make it known that you are raising awareness, acceptance and understanding.
3. Spread Autism Safety
Many individuals wander unsafely away from a parent or guardian. Frequently, they are compelled to water or place themselves in otherwise unsafe situations. Teach your students with autism safety skills such as road signs. Place stop signs on the doors leaving the classroom. Practice stopping with your students every time you leave the classroom. You can also teach to avoid hot items or bodies of water. Teaching basic safety skills is crucial for students who lack these essential life saving skills.
4. Create Resources!
Your students have all sorts of needs. Create student specific visuals and share them with parents. Don't know what parents need? Just ask! Chances are, your students' parents will be very excited to have you on their side and on board to help them out at home. They can also give you great insight as to how your student acts at home.
5. Get into the Community!
Want to spread awareness, understanding, and acceptance? Get into the community! Find ways to integrate yourself into the community. Hold an informational meeting at school, library or local coffee shop. Hold workshops to teach life skills. Open a Q and A forum. Be aware of what your community may need and help provide what you can.
6. Have a Fundraiser!
Hold a bake sale, coffee bar, or soup sale to raise money for your favorite autism charity or non-profit agency. Having your students with autism hold a bake sale is a great way to spread awareness, understanding and acceptance while teaching the life skills of entrepreneurship, running a business, and making change.
7. Organize Your Classroom!
Spreading understanding and acceptance comes from you. Setting your classroom up in an organized manner alleviates anxiety surrounding visual clutter. Reducing visual chaos and organizing your classroom is a subtle way to show your students with autism that you value them, their needs, and their feelings.
Want a FREE workbook to help you get your classroom organized?
8. Become a Mentor!
Share your knowledge and experience with others. Have a new teacher or administrator in your school? Help teach them about autism and the student specific needs in your classroom. Offer tips, strategies and suggestions to help get them started.
9. Learn About Local Services!
There are usually agencies and services in your area that are available for individuals with autism and their families. Learn about these activities, supports, and services and share them with your students' parents.
10. Teach Acceptance!
This one is straight forward. Teach kindness, acceptance and understanding no matter where you are. You can have lessons in the classroom around diversity and the differences that make us all unique. Encourage teamwork in the classroom by creating lessons that demonstrate your students' strengths.
Okay, there it is! Now get to it! You have the whole month ahead of you! Get to work!