The state of Michigan is observing Autism Acceptance Month in April to promote a more inclusive society. This month-long observance aims to raise awareness about autism, promote acceptance, and highlight the contributions of people with autism.
Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a proclamation stating that the state is committed to building a more welcoming and supportive environment for people with autism and their families. Various events and activities will be held throughout the month to celebrate diversity, increase understanding and foster inclusion for everyone.
“Autism Acceptance Month is an opportunity for all Michiganders to advocate and practice acceptance for people with autism,” said Gov. Whitmer. “We are focused on creating opportunities for everyone to reach their full potential, including Michiganders living with autism. Let’s work together to provide information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.”
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S., affecting more than five million people with an incidence rate of 1/44, per recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveillance estimates. Youth with autism have been identified as the primary emerging population of individuals with a disability in Michigan that is either currently or predicted to be underserved.
Symptoms and characteristics of autism can vary significantly from one individual to the next. They may result in significant, lifelong challenges in learning, social-interactive behaviors, and understanding verbal and nonverbal communication. Many individuals with autism possess and learn exceptional skills and talents valuable to the business community. Acceptance and inclusion are critical to an individual’s independence in their community.
“Michigan is posed to be a top state to live if you or a family member has autism,” said Colleen Allen, President and CEO of the Autism Alliance. “Our efforts to reduce the age of diagnosis and access to services is a critical first step, followed by a high quality, inclusive education. Ultimately, we want autistic persons to live the life they choose, and to be fully supported on that journey.”
“Individuals with autism play an important role in strengthening and diversifying our state’s workforce,” said LEO’s Office of Employment and Training Director Stephanie Beckhorn. “We work hard to support employment opportunities for people with autism. Our vocational rehabilitation programs assist individuals with autism in identifying their personal and professional goals and providing them with the right supports and services to help them achieve success.”
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Autism.