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April is Autism Acceptance Month and Brings a New Initiative from SEF

painted handprints and tiles spelling autism

Since 1970, April has been commemorated as Autism Awareness Month to highlight what is needed to help people on the autism spectrum lead their fullest lives.

In a post in Three Things last year, we delved into the transformative shift in the April events and activities, transitioning from the concept of Autism Awareness to the more inclusive and empowering notion of Autism Acceptance.

In promoting acceptance and further research into autism, the quality of life in those on this spectrum may hopefully improve. A 2018 study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders suggested that experiencing acceptance may benefit mental health, while lack of acceptance may correlate to depression and stress. Acceptance from people around those with autism spectrum disorder also improved self-acceptance, which correlated with greater self-esteem and lower depression.

This past Tuesday, World Autism Acceptance Day 2024, had the theme of Empowering Autistic Voices, underscoring the importance of empowering autistic differences and recognizing the value of neurodiversity in society.

Here at SEF, we mark this month with the official roll-out of the Autism Independence Project.

This new initiative, funded by a grant from the Charles W. Frees & Jean H. Frees Foundation, seeks to assist middle and high school students diagnosed with autism. By understanding and increasing their social skills development, students can better equip themselves for school and other meaningful life aspirations, fostering a sense of hope and optimism for their future.

The Autism Independence Project brings together a cohort of six students to participate in the iSocial virtual learning platform. The students will meet in the evening twice per week over 16 weeks.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Autism Independence Project, please complete the “Contact Us” form on our website, and we’ll get back in touch with you with more details on the project.