It’s not Autism Awareness Month in my house. It’s Autism Acceptance Month. In fact, to me, Autism Acceptance Day is everyday. What’s the difference? I don’t want people to just know what Autism is, I want the world to accept Autistic individuals for who they are.
The Centers for Disease Control just released a new statistic, claiming 1 in 68 children are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum — so chances are, you or your child already know an Autistic person. (If you’re not familiar with Autism, please take a moment and check out the AMAZING explanation by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.) But Autism Acceptance is so much more than puzzle pieces and “lighting it up blue.”Here’s a list of local events you can attend to show your support for Autism “Acceptance” 😉 month:
1 April – Tower of the Americas – At 7:30 pm, the Tower of the Americas will be lit blue in honor of Autism Awareness Month. If you register on-site for the Walk for Autism, you will receive a FREE ticket to access the Tower of the Americas’ Observation Deck.
5 April – Fiesta Especial 5k – This San Antonio event was created for “children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental differences and the family and friends who love them.” The Third Annual 5k Run and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk will take place in Windcrest at 8:00am. You’re encouraged to dress in your most festive fiesta-wear and are invited to enjoy the Fiesta Especial parade when you’re done.
12 April – Any Baby Can’s 10th Annual Walk For Autism – Another official Fiesta event, the Any Baby Can’s Walk for Autism will have over 60 exhibitors in their resource fair along with one of the largest charity walks in the nation! Feel free to join the Autism Community Network’s team by registering here.
19 April – Sensory Friendly Films – Each month, AMC Rivercenter provides a special screening of a current family movie in a safe, judgment-free setting. There are less previews, the theater is not completely dark, and all attendees are welcome to walk around, dance, or sing! This month, they’ll be showing Rio 2. You can check out the AMC website for listings or the Autism Society for more information.
19 April – The Color Vibe 5K – You’ve probably wanted to try one of these 5Ks, and now you’ve got a great reason to – this year, the Autism Community Network is their 2014 charity partner here in San Antonio. (Save $10 with code ACN2014)
26 April – Autism Community Night at the Missions Ballpark – Not only will there be $9-autism-friendly seating, but the game will conclude with fireworks! 100% of ticket sales through ACN will benefit their diagnostic, education and training programs. The San Antonio Missions players, coaches and staff will be wearing autism-themed special event jerseys that will be auctioned off, and all proceeds will go to our local resource – the Autism Community Network.
Autism Acceptance doesn’t end May 1st! Here are some ways you can promote acceptance all year round:
Foundation Family Fun Fest – This year’s 2nd annual Foundation Family Fun Fest was held on March 22nd and benefitted the Foundation School for Autism here in San Antonio. It was a great event for children of all abilities with tons of sensory friendly activities, games, and characters. Check out their Facebook page too!
AccessAbility Fest – Last year’s festival was held in El Mercado just in time for Halloween and was free and open to the public. It included free trick-or-treating and tons of activities for people of all abilities.
Even if you don’t know someone on the Autism Spectrum, your participation in these events is so important. I’d like to encourage you to attend and bring your children. Giving your children the opportunity to meet different people and allowing them to ask questions is one of the best ways to fight the stigma surrounding Autism.