Many of you may think of April as Autism Awareness Month because for many years that’s what autism organizations promoted. In more recent years, the Autism Society, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and other nonprofits have shifted the annual campaign from awareness to acceptance, reflecting the need for acceptance and support. As someone who has been in the autism world for over 30 years, I applaud this shift; as a fellow Mueller resident, I’m delighted to have the chance to tell you a little bit about how this relates to you.
In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control updated its autism prevalence rate to one in 44 8-year-olds. This CDC statistic means that there is an extremely high probability that you have at least one person on the autism spectrum in your life. In fact, I know for sure that you have at least one neighbor with autism because he’s my 36-year-old son John.
John is impacted severely by his autism which is to say that he needs a great deal of support. He is nonverbal and impulsive and doesn’t have good judgment about safety. His social skills aren’t very good but he really does like people. When you see us walking in the neighborhood, please feel free to say hi. John may or may not respond but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate your greeting. Also, since autism occurs in families, sometimes our entire family is unable to socialize the way we’d like to. Please don’t take that as a sign that we’re unfriendly. We’re just doing our best.
I expect that there are quite a few other neighbors in Mueller who have a son or daughter with autism or some other disability. I feel comfortable saying that they probably want to be included and accepted in our community, too.
If you want to know more about autism and/or autism resources in Texas, please feel free to contact me or the Autism Society of Texas.
Ann Hart, 2520 Tom Miller Street, [email protected]
Autism Society of Texas, www.texasautismsociety.org