autism-awareness-graphicDuring April, many of us are happy to finally see the landscape shift from a dreary grey to a luscious green. Trees regain their leaves, flowers begin to bloom, and warmer temperatures call us all to the great outdoors. April truly is a new beginning, offering our senses an escape from the harsh winter months. In addition to bringing us hope of warmer weather and longer days, April also brings a different form of hope to those living with Autism. This year’s National Autism Awareness Month is focused on providing hope through new beginnings, focusing on awareness, inclusion, and equal opportunities for everyone living with Autism.

According to the Autism Society, this month’s campaign is a bit different from the rest. With an emphasis on community-wide inclusion, National Autism Awareness Month is revolving around the idea of starting inclusion within schools, families, and other groups with more direct influence on those living with Autism. The goal, along with awareness, is to create a world for those living with Autism that encourages, includes, and celebrates them in every aspect.

National Autism Awareness Month has gained prevalence over the years, and the rise in Autism diagnoses proves just how valuable this Awareness Month continues to be. According to the CDC in 2014 as cited on the Autism Society’s “Facts and Statistics” webpage, an estimated 1 in 68 newborns will be diagnosed with Autism at birth. In addition, according to a segment in BloombergBusiness from Bloomberg.com by Nicole Ostrow, there were, as of June 10, 2014, an estimated 3.5 million Americans living with Autism. Therefore, Autism is very relevant and prevalent for us, illustrating the true need for the hope that National Autism Awareness Month can bring.

Thus, with the help of communities, families, friends, and National Autism Awareness Month, the individuals that are a part of these statistics are able to become more than a number.  Through the hope, assistance, and awareness this month provides, these individuals can feel included, encouraged, and celebrated. Just as April brings new and positive beginnings, let it also bring new and hopeful beginnings to those living with Autism.

To learn more about Autism and how you can help, visit http://www.autism-society.org for more details. For direct assistance within the New River Valley, feel free to contact NRVCS at (540)-961-8300 to learn more about their many services, resources, and community support programs.