Autism Awareness Month
The Autism Society has been celebrating April as National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM) to highlight awareness about autism for more than 50 years.
There are thousands of ways you can help support students with and without autism raise acceptance and awareness. We have compiled a list of ideas that we think might help parents, teachers, administrators and staff create a space of acceptance and support for students with autism.
How can you make a difference in your school or community this April?
1.) Post facts about autism on brightly colored paper around the school or talk about them during the morning announcements.
2.) Invite speakers to talk about autism. Speakers can be people on the spectrum, family members of individuals with autism or professionals in the field. Reach out to the Autism Society of Florida to see if we can support you.
3.) Ask classmates, friends, and teachers to wear autism shirts to raise autism awareness on a particular day. For an idea on shirts, you can find one here.
4.) Ask the School Library to set books about autism out on display through April.
5.) Show a movie about autism during lunch time!
6.) Create an Autism Awareness Ambassador Program or club at your school to help raise money and spread awareness.
7.) Autism Spectrum Map Quest. Have students create a map of the school or community, highlighting places that are important or meaningful to students they know who have autism. This activity could include educational components such as researching and learning about these places and could be a great way for students to learn about the resources available to support individuals with autism.
8.) Autism Spectrum Scavenger Hunt. Encourage students to search for and learn about different aspects of autism. This activity could involve creating a scavenger hunt that leads students through other areas of the school. They can learn more about autism and the experiences of individuals on the spectrum.
9.) Autism Spectrum Timeline. Assign students to create a timeline of the history of autism and its interventions. This activity could involve students researching and creating a timeline that highlights important milestones in the history of autism and its treatment.
10.) Friendship Bracelet Making. Students create bracelets to show their support for individuals with autism. This activity could involve students making friendship bracelets and wearing them to show their support for individuals with autism. They could use different colors and designs that symbolize acceptance and understanding.
Video About Autism
This 4 minute video gives an uplifting introduction to autism for young non-autistic audiences, aiming to raise awareness and understanding in future generations.
Help raise financial support for the Autism Society of Florida by participating in one of the following activities:
Create or join a team for our Annual Bike to the Beach event from Miami to the Florida Keys. This can be done in person, or in your hometown. More info here
Hold a bake sale and decorate food items with symbols to represent acceptance and awareness, such as the infinity symbol.
Hold a penny war. In a penny war, two or more groups (grades) compete to win a fundraising competition. Each group has a bucket for collecting coins or dollar bills. The value of any pennies collected by a group count positively toward that group's point total, while the value of other coins or dollar bills are subtracted. See which grade can raise the most.
Hold a jeans day. A Jean Day Fundraiser is when a school allows students to wear jeans for one day and in return the students make a small donation (usually $5) to the Autism Society of Florida.
Host a yard sale in the parking lot. Spring clean and sell your items at the same time, encourage families to participate and donate earnings to the Autism Society of Florida.
Classroom Learning Ideas
Help students learn about autism by one of the following activities:
1.) Teach a lesson on tips for being a friend to someone with autism.
2.) Choose books or stories for students to read that have individuals with autism as characters.
3.) Have students decorate autism symbols and decorate the classroom or door with the creations.
4.) Have elementary/ school students make a pocket-sized booklet about autism to spread awareness
5.) Encourage students to write letters to legislators about the needs of students with disabilities, including autism. Students will need to think critically about this issue and learn how to constructively write and advocate for this cause.
6.) Create a pen pal system where students write letters, draw pictures, or cards to students with autism, fostering friendship and connection as well as reading and writing skills.