April is Volunteer Month - Have you selected your Autism Awareness Activity yet?

April is a significant month for two reasons. First, it is National Volunteer Month, which aims to recognize and appreciate the contributions of volunteers and encourage people to engage in volunteer activities. Second, Autism Awareness Month is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder.

I learned a new word lately. I can't believe I had not read/heard it before. Obviously, I am failing in my cultural education. The word I learned is "Allistic". The easiest way to explain is to disclose that I identify as allistic because I am not on the autism spectrum. My first exposure to autism was Jerry Espenson's "Hands" from Boston Legal, and when I ran across similar characteristics in a classmate in my daughter's Tai Kwando Class, I recognized it and so understood the child’s behavior.

Communication between autistic and allistic individuals can be challenging due to differences in communication styles, sensory processing, and social understanding. Unfortunately, according to a source, the US unemployment rate for autistic adults with a college education is 85%.

However, there is hope. Many organizations, including Stanford, have programs that connect employers with autistic job seekers. According to the Harvard Business Review, many global companies have revamped their HR processes to access neurodivergent talent.

I encourage you and your organization to support groups that advocate for the neurodivergent community. Autism Speaks and The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network are two great organizations you can look into.

This April, use your volunteer time to spread understanding and acceptance. Participate in Autism Awareness Month activities and share your story with others using the hashtag #LightItUpBlue.