Awareness about people with autism and their abilities and desires to lead rich, active, connected lives is on the rise. For example, thanks to an award-winning HBO movie, more people are getting to know Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin is an adult with autism. She is an animal welfare activist, livestock handling facilities designer, animal behavior professor, and one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in 2010. She is also a renowned autism advocate, helping people around the world understand autism and how to overcome the challenges it presents.
Saturday, April 2, marks the fourth annual World Autism Awareness Day designated by the United Nations. Decades of research and practice has proven what United Nationals Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon recently explained, “All children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives in society. To do so, they simply need great understanding and supports.”
The U.S. Department of Education maintains its commitment to education, employment and equality for all individuals on the autism spectrum. In addition to the 300,000 children on the autism spectrum receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and 6,435 individuals with autism participating in vocational rehabilitation programs, ED grants fund research, technical assistance, and family and personnel support to benefit those with autism and their families.
April is also designated as National Autism Awareness Month. We encourage everyone to spend time this month learning more about autism and the issues that are important to the autism community.
Alexa Posny, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services