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World Autism Month

Raising Awareness and Providing Support

Communities around the world come together to support people with autism and their families this April for World Autism Month. It’s a good time to take inventory of the resources and tools you keep on hand to help students with autism - and those who share their world.


World Autism Month kicks off with a focus on awareness, labeling April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. This is the 15th year with a United Nations-sanctioned day dedicated to raising awareness about autism.

As the world becomes more informed about autism, providing resources that expand that awareness beyond familiarity to a more in-depth understanding becomes the goal. Books and other written materials extend understanding and provide information about tools that can help staff, parents, and the students themselves.

  • Resources like the updated, DSM-5-corresponding reference A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders give staff the opportunity to learn the impact of the latest research on interventions to use and to avoid when working with students with autism and other disorders.
  • Whether just receiving their child’s diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or wanting to further their understanding, the 33-page Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder brochure, available in English and Spanish, provides helpful information and answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Parents and staff aren’t the only ones who benefit from learning more about autism. Those that live with ASD can find information about their disorder as well as learn skills to cope with daily challenges by reading The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, a positive, straightforward book written for kids with ASD. The stories, fact boxes, checklists and other tools and information help kids with ASD gain understanding of the disorder and how it impacts themselves as well as self-acceptance. The book also includes sections for parents.


Autism Speaks, an organization that provides advocacy and support for people with autism and their families, offers helpful resources and advances research on the disorder and interventions. 

Weighted Tools 

Weighted items, like vests and blankets, provide proprioceptive feedback to help people with autism focus and self-regulate and are also reported to be experienced as comforting. Weighted blankets and other weighted items are also considered helpful to people with other challenges, like ADHD and anxiety. There are a wide variety of weighted items available, which can help students and staff discover what works best for a particular student in the school setting.


Fidget Tools

In addition to weight, students with autism often experience improved focus and concentration when they use tools that provide tactile stimulation, like these:


Sound Reduction Tools

Students with autism who find noise overwhelming can benefit from noise-reduction headphones. Students with other challenges, like auditory defensiveness, anxiety, and other sensory disorders, also find kid-sized noise-reduction headphones can help them to focus and find comfort in the school environment. Some are decorated to make them more kid-friendly, while others are plain for kids who prefer simplicity. Ear covers are available to keep headphones clean, especially when they are shared tools.

Beyond stocking up on resources and tools, there are many ways you can participate in World Autism Month, including:

  • Wear blue on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day.
  • Pledge to help create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.
  • Do daily acts of kindness, and invite people to join the Autism Speaks Kindness Campaign.
  • Donate to Autism Speaks and/or help with fundraising
  • Share stories on social media or via the MacGill Henry Street Stories series to help raise awareness about autism.
  • On April 2, light up your building, office, home or another space with the Light It Up Blue


Join MacGill in supporting those with autism and their families this April.

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