Autism Awareness Month 2022
In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) honors the contribution of people on the autism spectrum and the autism community to our nation and the world. We join the United Nations and the U.S. government in recognizing the needs of people on the autism spectrum and their families. Our office recognizes the need for supporting, understanding, accepting, including, and empowering of people on the autism spectrum. Throughout the month of April, we will be updating this page with the latest news and events.
April 1, 2022
In his 2022 Presidential Proclamation for World Autism Awareness Day, President Joseph R. Biden reaffirms his Administration’s commitment to equity for people on the autism spectrum across all races, ethnicities, genders, cultures, and geography in access to services, inclusion of people with lived experience in research, opportunities for competitive integrated employment, and the ability to pursue their life interests free of discrimination.
April 2, 2022
For World Autism Awareness Day, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres affirmed the UN’s support of the rights of people on the autism spectrum to fully participate in society. The rights of people with disabilities are supported in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Secretary Guterres recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many inequalities as well as the need for community-based support systems, such as systems for inclusive education, which is the topic of this year's UN World Autism Awareness Day Special Event on April 8, 2022.
April 2, 2022
Autism Speaks celebrates World Autism Month each year. This year is the United Nation’s 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day, which was on April 2. Autism Speaks highlights how community members can participate in World Autism Month, such as taking a pledge to increase the understanding and acceptance of autism.
April 21, 2022
Madison House Autism Foundation founded Autism After 21 Day in 2016. Subsequently, it was entered into the congressional record in 2018 by, then Maryland Congressman, now Senator Chris Van Hollen. Autism After 21 Day is observed during Autism Awareness Month on April 21st. On this day, we celebrate the abilities and contributions made by adults on the spectrum in our lives and in our communities. Madison House invites the community to join in this recognition of adults on the autism spectrum each April.
April 25, 2022
Jonathan Paul Katz, a policy adviser and Presidential Management Fellow in DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, is an autistic adult. Due to his work and personal history, family and friends often send him articles about efforts to employ autistic adults. He noticed that most of these opportunities are in the information technology (IT) sector. He describes how policy can expand these efforts across all sectors of the workforce. ODEP works to promote inclusive hiring practices, both within the federal government and in the private sector.
April 27, 2022
For Autism Awareness Month, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director and Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Chair Dr. Joshua Gordon writes about the importance of asking a wide variety of questions about autism. He discusses how NIMH is answering a variety of questions with its current portfolio, which includes studies on supporting in-school service providers and preparing transition-aged youth for post-secondary education. Dr. Gordon explains that due to the wide variety of experiences of people on the spectrum, it is important for researchers to explore areas such as co-occurring mental health conditions and services.
Press Release: The Autism Society of America Invites You to #CelebrateDifferences during April’s Autism Acceptance Month
This April, the Autism Society is working to #CelebrateDifferences. They recognize the variety of experiences within the autism community and emphasize the need for equitable access to support, services, and resources. This blog highlights topics such as first responder training, COVID-19 impacts and response, and employment advocacy.
For the second year, AUCD has shifted from celebrating “Autism Awareness Month” to “Autism Acceptance Month” in response to input from autistic and other community leaders. This year, AUCD is focusing on mental health and will host a series of webinars on mental health parity laws, suicide prevention, support, and social skills development.
For Autism Acceptance Month 2022, ASAN released a statement on genetic research and autism. ASAN describes their concerns about genetic research and recommends safeguards. They also list research priorities that can enhance the quality of life of autistic people.
The April 2022 edition of the Office of Head Start’s Disabilities Services Newsletter highlights resources on evidence-based practices to teach social-communication and play skills to young children with autism. These resources include suggestions on making environmental modifications, how to target a preschooler’s social-communication skills, an educators guide on ASD, informational videos, modules on teaching practices, and more. The newsletter also provides information for families on how to support positive behaviors.
March 30, 2022; 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET
Since 2014, the Autism Science Foundation (ASF) has produced science conferences designed for autistic people and their families, advocates, and researchers. The ASF Day of Learning incorporates TED-style talks that bring top researchers together with autism stakeholders to share cutting-edge findings and to discuss issues that matter to the autism community. This year’s event will be hybrid, occurring both in person at the New York Athletic Club and online.
April 1, 2022; 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET
This workshop, sponsored by the Indian Health Service, will focus on teaching mind-body therapies and skills to families and providers so that they can help people on the autism spectrum stay balanced in their lives. Skills participants will learn include mindfulness and dance movement techniques, which help support accepting and caring home and healthcare environments. The goal of this virtual webinar is to compare and contrast these mind-body techniques with other traditional autism care approaches.
April 4–5, 2022
The goal of the 8th Annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit is to promote stimulating discussion and allow attendees to learn from each other and gain perspectives from lived experiences. The summit’s themes include equity, diversity, and social inclusion in policy development; evidence-informed supports across the lifespan; and progress in employment programs and disability supports. This year the summit will be hybrid, attendees can attend local, in-person satellite-events or virtually.
Webinar: HEARTS – A healthy relationships class for autistic people co-taught with autistic teachers
April 7, 2022; 1:00 p.m. ET
Healthy Relationships on the Autism Spectrum (HEARTS) is a six-session online class to support autistic adults who want to strengthen their friendships and dating relationships. This webinar will focus on how and why OAR developed the HEARTS class and the importance of collaborating with neurodiverse individuals. This webinar was designed collaboratively with autistic adults.
April 8, 2022; 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. ET
As COVID-19 has spread around the world, many schools have closed, exacerbating existing inequalities in education. This year’s observance of World Autism Awareness Day addresses the UN’s fourth Sustainable Development Goal, “Quality Education,” which includes inclusive and equitable lifelong learning opportunities for all. Specifically it notes that people with disabilities are entitled to equal access to all levels of education and vocational training. The UN’s Sustainable Development goals were adopted in 2015 to address major challenges in the world.
April 11, 2022; 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET
This virtual event will include two presentations, moderated by Dr. Cindy Lawler, Chief of the Gene’s, Environment, and Health Branch at NIEHS. The first talk is entitled “Gene-Environment Correlation in Autism: What You See, What You Get, and the Breadth of Environments That Matter,” given by Dr. John Constantino. The second is entitled "Toxics, Stress, and Genetics: Combined Impacts in Autism Research," given by Dr. Heather Volk.
April 13-14, 2022; 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. ET
The purpose of the IACC meeting is to discuss business, agency updates, and issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services activities. The meeting will be held virtually and is open to the public. The meeting will include a welcome from Acting NIH Director Dr. Lawrence Tabak as well as presentations on housing and communication needs.
April 20, 2022; 11:00 a.m. ET
Suicide is a leading cause of premature death for autistic people, but little is known about the best practices to reduce suicide risk. Presenters will discuss a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) study that compares the effectiveness of two suicide prevention interventions for autistic adolescents and young adults. They will also discuss best practices for meaningful of autistic people and their families as research partners.
April 26, 2022
Join the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination and Autism Speaks to learn how to assist people with Autism before, during and after disasters.
Sponsored by OARC
April 27, 2022; 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) are hosting their 9th Annual Autism Awareness Month Special Event, Animating the Future for Exceptional Minds. The event will feature Exceptional Minds, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, California that prepares young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in the digital arts and entertainment industry.
April 29 - 30, 2022
The Center for Material Culture studies at the University of Delaware is hosting their third biennial conference. Historically people with disabilities have been the object of vision and cast in disparaging roles. This conference will switch roles and consider the power the disability gaze. The conference will highlight the experiences of people with disabilities as they claim their own performance, identity, and citizenship.