April marks National Autism Acceptance Month. To recognize the annual awareness campaign, Governor Tom Wolf recently signed a proclamation that highlights the challenges people with autism face as well as Pennsylvania's commitment to meeting the needs of people with autism and their families. In the proclamation, which can be read at this link, the Wolf administration recognizes the prevalence of autism regardless of race, religion, and socio-economic status. Across the CDC surveillance sites, an average of 1 in every 54 (1.9%) 8-year-old children were identified as having ASD in 2016.
Wolf goes on to highlight Pennsylvania initiatives that help meet the needs of people with autism and their families:
"WHEREAS, individuals with autism benefit from specialized services and community support to ensure their health and safety and full participation in community life; and
WHEREAS, individuals with autism, families, professionals, and community members are supported through connections with others and the sharing of resources, including through access to ASERT initiatives such as the Statewide Resource Center, and #ASDNext; and
WHEREAS, the resilience of families and individuals with autism is strengthened through support; and
WHEREAS, we value what is important to people with autism and their families, who are striving to live everyday lives; and
WHEREAS, positive outcomes increase for individuals with autism when training is provided to professionals across all systems, including those in justice, healthcare, and emergency response settings"
The proclamation ends by stating the importance of Autism Acceptance Month in recognizing the diverse nature and abilities of people with autism, and that Pennsylvania is committed to supporting individuals with autism so that they may realize their everyday lives. Read the rest of the proclamation at this link.