April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month

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Office of the Texas Governor, Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities

Governor Abbott Declares April Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month

Governor Abbott declared April as Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. The Autism Society first launched autism awareness efforts in 1970 to "assure that all affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible." As our understanding of autism has grown, the yearly campaign has shifted from awareness to acceptance. The language we use is critical and advocates with autism have worked hard to help us understand that many people with autism see their diagnosis as a critical feature of who they are– a unique facet of their identity that requires support and a different way of thinking, not something to be eradicated. Early intervention through access to services like speech and occupational therapy is an important component of this support. 

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) has celebrated April as Autism Acceptance Month since 2011, remarking on the importance of celebrating neurodiversity and supporting people with autism. ASAN notes that acceptance requires action, and calls on the wider community to include people with autism in positions of leadership, to align research and other activities with the priorities of the autistic community, and remember that people with autism are the experts on their experience. 

As Governor Abbott states in his proclamation, people with autism "have the same hopes and desires as all Texans: to be self-determined and pursue their own American dream, work and earn a living, practice their faith, and be included in their community. Throughout our state's history, individuals with autism have utilized their unique abilities and experiences to make immense contributions to Texas' rich diversity and ensure the success of our thriving economy." Texans with autism are invaluable members of our society, and April is an excellent time to learn more about the community and how we can create a more inclusive, accessible environment for all. 

Opportunities to Get Involved

Autism acceptance does not end in April! There are a number of organizations throughout Texas working to promote a better understanding of autism.

  • The Autism Society's #CelebrateDifference campaign encourages people with autism and their families to live full, self-determined lives through connection and acceptance;
  • The Autism Society of Texas will be hosting the Texas Autism Advocacy Day on Thursday, April 8th. This event will be held online from 7 to 9pm and will include time for Q&A on issues impacting the autism community;
  • The Autism Society of Texas has gathered a list of events taking place throughout April, including their ongoing lecture series Seminars Across the Spectrum. An archived version of their April 1st lecture on talking with your child about their diagnosis can be found on their YouTube page.


Read the Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month Proclamation