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Proper Supports a Focus during Autism Acceptance Month

April has been dedicated to the acceptance of autism since the 1970s, and ever since, disability advocates have used this time of year to push for inclusion of individuals with autism. Autism is a complex, lifelong disability that affects social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. It is very much a spectrum condition, meaning that people are affected differently, in different areas of their lives, and to different degrees.

With the proper supports in place, an autistic person can live a rich life full of opportunity. Tricia Lewis, Director of Independent Living Services, proposes that each person should be welcomed to participate in the way that works best for him/her. "That may mean taking breaks from the activity to self-regulate or being excited to share knowledge about an esoteric topic. Each autistic person has his/her own experiences and needs. For example, one person may become overwhelmed with bright lights, loud noises, unexpected activity, or certain textures. Another person may have trouble with executive processing, or planning and organizing information. Another may struggle to shift gears or be flexible with change. We are all stronger when we foster diversity and ensure that understanding and support exist at work, at school, and in life."