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7 Autism Awareness Activities That Will Help You Make a Difference

April 3, 2024

April is Autism Acceptance Month. It began as Autism Awareness Month in the 1970s before transitioning to Autism Acceptance Month in 2021. It’s a time of year when autism spectrum disorder gets a stronger focus from the world at large.

As part of this month, there are many autism awareness activities the community can participate in to encourage more awareness and acceptance. Let’s look at some ways to raise awareness and some activities that can help make a difference for the autism community.

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How You Can Promote Autism Awareness This April

1. Express yourself through clothing

Clothing is one of the easiest ways to celebrate autism awareness activities because it can serve as free advertising. Wear blue or another color if the organization you support chooses a different one to raise autism awareness.

Beyond just colors, autism awareness symbols can be worn on clothing, such as puzzle pieces or the infinity symbol. Many organizations sell these clothes to help raise money while also raising awareness.

If you don’t want to buy clothing with these symbols, you can spread awareness by creating your own shirt that helps bring more attention to autism spectrum disorder.

2. Decorate the classroom door

Teachers can help raise autism awareness and acceptance among their students by encouraging them to decorate their doors in honor of Autism Acceptance Month.

Teachers and students can work together to design the decorations for the door. This can help foster inclusivity and help families affected recognize a classroom, and maybe the entire school, as autism friendly.

These decorations can also be used as a teaching tool to encourage open and honest communication about the autism spectrum and promote understanding and education.

3. Explore the work of autistic creators

Autistic creators have made their mark in a variety of ways. Parents and teachers can help celebrate autism awareness by encouraging others to seek out the works of these autistic creators. These creators bring a vast range of expression, making their marks in music, visual arts, media arts, and science and innovation.

A teacher showing something to her student https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/autism-awareness-activities/

Some of the most well-known famous people with autism include:

  • Dan Aykroyd, actor and comedian,
  • Temple Grandin, teacher, and autism advocate,
  • Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist,
  • Elon Musk, entrepreneur and businessman,
  • Emily Dickinson, poet,
  • Bobby Fischer, chess grandmaster,
  • Bill Gates, entrepreneur and software developer,
  • Tim Burton, actor, director and animator.

All of these people have reached the top of their respective fields. They shine as examples of people with autism who don’t let their diagnosis hinder their accomplishments. Many of them credited their autism diagnoses with helping them succeed.

4. Create sensory toys

Many children on the autism spectrum have extensive sensory needs. A way to help support autism awareness activities can include creating and handing out sensory toys. Many sensory toys can be made at home with inexpensive materials, making them an easy way to celebrate autism awareness month.

If you spend time making sensory toys, you’ll need a place to hand them out. See about partnering with autism advocacy groups. They can help you find a way to hand out the toys at schools, therapy centers, or community groups.

Sensory toys can help support autistic people and introduce kids to a meaningful way to spread kindness to those with autism.

5. Watch a movie or TV show about autism

There have been many portrayals of autism in film and television. While some are less than desirable, others have done a good job of showing the importance of being knowledgeable about autism spectrum disorder. It would be best to find a film or show that demonstrates the autism spectrum in an authentic way.


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Some movies or shows that highlight autism awareness include:

  • Loop – a Pixar Spark short available on Disney Plus. It features a nonverbal girl and a neurotypical boy traveling by canoe and their struggles communicating before finally bonding.
  • Atypical – a Netflix original series that follows a teenage boy with autism and how the spectrum affects not only his life but the lives of his family members.
  • Parenthood – a multigenerational drama that originally aired on NBC and features a storyline about a teenager’s journey with autism as he matures.
  • The Good Doctor – the ABC drama follows an autistic man as he pursues a career as a doctor. The show demonstrates how his diagnosis helps him recognize possible ailments in others that neurotypical doctors may miss.
  • Love on the Spectrum – this reality television show, available on Netflix, follows people on the spectrum as they seek true love.
  • Sesame Street – the beloved children’s program introduced an autistic muppet named Julia to help explain the condition to children so they can be more inclusive to their fellow kids.

While this is a small selection, many movies and shows feature a character on the autism spectrum. However, to be respectful to the community, it’s important to find shows that accurately represent the autism spectrum.

6. Support businesses owned by autistic individuals

Autistic individuals own all sorts of businesses. We can seek out some of these businesses and find ways to support them as a way to celebrate autism awareness.

Frequenting these businesses can not only help provide an economic boon for the person with autism but encourage others to do the same. This can help foster inclusivity and autism acceptance.

Once you know which businesses are owned by autistic individuals, feel free to share their stories on social media. It will continue to make their business name more recognizable to others while raising autism awareness.

7. Donate to an autism organization

Many organizations help raise autism awareness and autism acceptance. Find the one you believe can do the most good and donate to the cause. Some serve as advocacy groups, while others fund research or offer support services.

These services often help children with autism and can make a difference in their lives and those of their family members. Do your research to determine which would be best for you to support.

Man holding glass jar with coins and Donate word https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/autism-awareness-activities/

Make a difference with autism awareness activities

As Autism Acceptance Month and World Autism Day are quickly approaching, there are many things we can do to support the autism community and raise autism awareness. These ways to celebrate autism can help increase awareness while also encouraging fun and creative activities.

Every individual can do something to help make life easier and better for autistic children. Raising awareness can lead to more autism research and spread kindness to children with autism and their families.

If you pursue any of these Autism Awareness Month activities, please share them with others. This will help the knowledge around the community grow.

FAQs

Q: How do you teach autism awareness?

A: When teaching autism awareness, it’s important to highlight similarities between neurotypical people and those with autism while also pointing out the unique differences and how best to accommodate those differences.

Q: What can you do on Autism Awareness Day?

A: For Autism Awareness Day, advocates and family members can wear blue or some type of clothing featuring an autism society that provides autism awareness activities.

Q: What can you do for Autism Awareness Month at work?

A: While at work, you can support autism awareness month activities by wearing clothes supporting people on the autism spectrum and pushing for more knowledge on the experiences of people with autism.

Q: How do you introduce autism to students?

A: When introducing autism to students, a teacher can demonstrate how autism affects their fellow students in their everyday lives in an effort to foster education and understanding.

Q: What is the symbol for autism?

A: Autism advocacy groups use different symbols to recognize autism. The interlocking, multicolored puzzle piece and the infinity symbol are the most common.

References:

Cremin, K., Healy, O., Spirtos, M. et al. Autism Awareness Interventions for Children and Adolescents: a Scoping Review. J Dev Phys Disabil 33, 27–50 (2021).

Petersson Bloom, L. Professional Development for Enhancing Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness in Preschool Professionals. J Autism Dev Disord 51, 950–960 (2021).

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