Let’s work together to increase autism acceptance in our communities. OAR is lending support in the form of information resources to promote peer acceptance, sibling support, safety, and more. Join OAR in helping us reach our 2021 goals!
GOAL 1: TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT THEIR AUTISTIC PEERS.
According to the CDC, 1 in 54 children in the United States has been identified as autistic. Autistic individuals are an important part of our communities, so it’s vitally important to teach children about their peers on the spectrum. OAR developed a peer education program called Kit for Kids for just this purpose: to help educators, parents, friends, and classmates teach students in grades K-8 about autism. The kit revolves around a story about a new student named Nick, who is autistic. It teaches children that autistic students may think differently or need some accommodations, but all students are of equal worth and should be treated as such.
How you can help: Since 2014, we have taught more than 135,000 students about autism. Together, we can reach an additional 5,000 students by the end of April. You can use the Kit for Kids materials to help start class discussions, enhance school campaign efforts, and eliminate common misconceptions students have about autism. If you need tips for how to use the Kit virtually, take a look at this month’s How To article.
In addition to telling the “What’s Up with Nick?” story, teachers can also use OAR’s Autism Tuned In website, which features animated videos and online games about Nick; the new Friendship Tip Sheets, which encourage non-autistic students to be good friends to their autistic classmates; and the newly-revised Kit for Kids Activity Workbooks, which help students engage with the materials presented in the rest of the Kit for Kids program.
GOAL 2: PROVIDE INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, AND SELF-ADVOCATES.
OAR’s comprehensive Life Journey Through Autism guidebooks offer high-quality, research-based information for parents, teachers, and autistic individuals. These resources cover important topics such as education, safety, and transition to adulthood. This year, OAR hopes to distribute 15,000 Life Journey Through Autism guides to families, schools, police and fire stations, and lending libraries.
How you can help: Help spread the word about these informative resources to people in your community. Reach out to local support groups, families, schools, organizations, medical facilities, or first responders who might benefit from these resources. You can also sign up to be an autism materials distributor and help spread the word about these resources through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. OAR has developed a toolkit of resources available for free for you to use in your community. Knowledge is power, and these resources will equip your local community with the knowledge it needs. Download any of our resources for free on this page, or order up to two paperback copies of any of OAR’s guides for free through our online store. For bulk orders, contact .
GOAL 3: HELP AUTISTIC ADULTS PREPARE FOR EMPLOYMENT THROUGH HIRE AUTISM.
Hire Autism’s mission is to improve employment opportunities for autistic individuals and help businesses create more inclusive workplaces. Hire Autism supports job seekers through various aspects of the job search process, from career exploration to providing helpful job search tools and advice. Additionally, employers receive assistance and virtual training on how to hire, train, and retain autistic employees.
Hire Autism’s top goals for April are to register 100 new job seekers on Hireautism.org, recruit 20 volunteers for our Navigator program, and sign up 20 new employer partners.
How you can help: there are four ways to get involved and support Hire Autism’s goals:
- Sign up to become a Hire Autism navigator and directly help individuals prepare for the job search by providing feedback on their resume or cover letter.
- Ask your employer to join as a Hire Autism employer partner. (Hire Autism is also free for employers.)
- Spread the word or refer job seekers to Hire Autism.
- Share our step-by-step guides and resources.
To learn more about how you can get involved or contribute to Hire Autism’s mission, contact Amanda Rioux at .
GOAL 4: RAISE MONEY FOR NEW RESEARCH AND RESOURCES THROUGH RUN FOR AUTISM.
RUN FOR AUTISM’s goal is to raise $80,000 for OAR during the month of April and have over 500 athletes signed up to dedicate their 2021 miles to autism research. All funds raised will go to OAR’s Changing Lives Fund, which supports research grants and resource distribution.
How you can help: Starting April 1 to kick off Autism Acceptance Month, the Active for Autism 5K & Kids Dash is back for its third year in a row. Join us for this completely virtual event that can be completed from anywhere, anytime between April 1 and April 11, and dedicate your virtual miles to autism research. Through your support of the Active For Autism Virtual 5K & Kids Dash, you are directly supporting OAR’s ultimate objective, to change lives. Learn more and register for the event here.
Do you know of anyone who loves to run or wants to join the campaign? Then let them know how they can join by sharing this article. For more information, contact Sean Flynn, manager of RUN FOR AUTISM, at 703-243-8020 or .
Join the cause today by volunteering, proposing new ideas, or in some other way and celebrate this month in your community. Questions? Contact OAR at or 703-243-3466.