National Autism Awareness Month, recognized every April in the United States, brings awareness about autism through educating the public on issues that impact the autism community. National Autism Awareness Month is also an opportunity to conduct staff development training activities that will foster understanding and sensitivity towards people with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. With four days left this month, it is not too late to create training activities for your staff. Below, I listed six suggestions on supporting autism awareness month.
- Guest Speaker. Invite a guest speaker such as a parent, professional or a person with autism to come to your organization and speak to staff on issues regarding autism. There are a number of organizations you can contact which can refer you to local organizations and people.
Autism Speaks- A community page that links chapters from each state.
Autism Society- Contact Information
National Autism Association- Contact Information
Autism Key- A listing of Autism foundations and organizations.
2. Lunch and Learn. Have a lunch and learn with the administrative staff. Invite a professional educator, parent or physician to speak for an hour on topics including, Understanding Autism, and ways to support your staff working with people with autism.
3. Games. Develop training activities including an autism word search or create puzzles, tests, or matching words that often use key words found in autism literature. Below, are links to autism glossary terms.
4. Films- Show films, movies and documentaries that highlight people with autism. Showing movies and films offers the opportunity to hold discussions, increase sensitivity and bring awareness. Below are listing of suggested films and movies.
5.Sensitivity Training. Conduct trainings that show many of the challenges faced by people with autism. including sensory, and fine motors skills.
6. Contest. Have a contest using beads represented the colors of the autism symbolic ribbon. Have employees guess the number of beads. Award a prize to the person who guesses correctly.
Above all, have fun during Autism Awareness Month. This is a great opportunity to bring awareness and have fun at the same time
What is you organization doing to bring awareness to autism?