National Autism Awareness Month

What is National Autism Awareness Month?

National Autism Awareness Month spans the month of April with the purpose of spreading awareness, breaking the stigma, and providing support and hope to those who have or support someone with Autism. Starting in the 1970s, Autism Awareness Week was celebrated, later growing into the entire month of April. 

What is Autism?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) describes a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by challenges with “social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns in behaviors, interests, and activities” (APA, 2021). The term spectrum is used to highlight the wide variation in presentation and severity of symptoms. ASD is understood to occur across all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups (CDC, 2020). Statistically speaking, ASD is four times more likely in boys than girls and approximately 1 in 44 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the CDC’s estimates based on research (CDC, 2020). 

How to work with an ASD diagnosis.

Many individuals diagnosed with ASD refer to themselves as “neurodivergent,” meaning that they differ in neurological function from what is considered normal or typical in society. Many view their neurodivergence as an aspect of themselves to be embraced and empowered.

Still, having an ASD diagnosis can present challenges, particularly for younger individuals. Several interventions have been developed with the aim to reduce symptoms while also improving cognitive ability, functioning in the community, and improving daily living skills. One of the most common interventions is behavioral strategies focused on social communication skill development as well as reducing restricted interests and repetitive, challenging behaviors (CDC 2020). Occupational and speech therapy may be beneficial for those struggling with vocational and communication needs; for older individuals, medication prescribed by a psychiatrist is a common intervention utilized (CDC, 2020). It is important to note that because of the wide range of ASD symptoms and presentation, optimal treatment can vary depending on the individual’s strengths, challenges, and age. Mental health professionals are great resources

Online Resource

  • Autism Speaks – provides educational resources, resource guides, and advocacy opportunities.
  • My Autism Team – a social network for parents of children with ASD.


American Psychological Association. (2021). Autism and autism spectrum disorders. American Psychological Association. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Data & statistics on autism spectrum disorder. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from