To bring acceptance to the unique perspectives of people with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder, the Norwalk Board of Education is proud to recognize April as National Autism Acceptance Month.
April has widely been known as “Autism Awareness Month” in the United States as a way to empower autistic individuals and their families. Today, the autism community is shifting their language to “National Autism Acceptance Month” to match the growing need for acceptance within the community.
Autism spectrum disorder and autism are both general terms for describing neuro-atypical brain development. Autism impacts social and communication skills. It exists in all races, ethnicities and social groups. In 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that approximately one in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
There is no known single cause of autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. At first glance, some people with autism may appear to have an intellectual disability, sensory processing issues, or problems with hearing or vision. However, with interventions and access autistic individuals are now being identified as twice exceptional, showing signs of extreme giftedness or talents.
Early intervention can improve learning, communication and social skills, as well as underlying brain development. Applied behavior analysis and therapies based on its principles are the most researched and commonly used behavioral interventions for autism. Many autistic individuals benefit from early interventions such as speech and occupational therapy. More recently, inclusive programming and support have shown significant promise as children are provided the opportunity to learn alongside their neuro-typical peers while receiving targeted and intense interventions.
NPS provides students with a variety of support systems throughout the district including LEAP, PINE, formerly known as NEST, high school programming and NPS Transition programs. This spring, Fox Run Elementary School and Ponus Ridge STEAM Academy leadership teams will partner with PINE for a four-week training session focused on creating a culture of collaboration and belonging. Leaders will then share best practices for school-wide implementation.
Norwalk Public Schools and the Board of Education are proud to support the “Light It Up Blue” campaign here in Norwalk, as part of a national autism acceptance initiative. NPS families and staff are invited to join others in the community on April 6 at 6 pm at the Gazebo on the Green for a special ceremony.
By declaring April as Autism Acceptance Month, the Board of Education aims to foster acceptance to ignite change through improved support and opportunities for autistic individuals.