On April 2nd Autism Awareness Day covered social media with colorful puzzle pieces. We liked and share pithy posts and watched news specials. Beside that one day of awareness, however, most of us forget the puzzle by April 5th – distracted by current events and upcoming summer activities. Meanwhile those affected by Autism continue the struggle to piece the puzzle together until next April 2nd when they are suddenly popular again.
There are, however, many ways to help these families and individuals, such as educating yourself and your family, being intentionally inclusive, and seeking exceptional charities to support. As it is not always easy to choose, we have compiled a list of four credible charities, each with varied focuses.
- The Autism Society of America, founded on grassroots efforts, seeks to improve the quality of life of those on the spectrum by raising awareness, advocating for autism services, and providing information regarding the most recent research and trends.
- The Organization for Autism Research (OAR), as the name implies, emphasizes supporting studies and research that target the development of autistic individuals across the lifespan, focusing on education, communication, and vocational challenges.
- Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) works toward equality for people with disabilities to ensure that they are awarded the same rights, responsibilities, choices, and opportunities as everyone else. Current initiatives include education regarding the presidential election, voting, and technology.
- Ady’s Army focuses on hands-on assistance to families. Ady’s Barracks provides yard fences and peace of mind to parents with little wanderers, Ady’s Wings enables families to travel to the most appropriate medical attention, Ady’s Paws supplies service dogs to special needs children, and Ady’s Racers creates a fun, stress-free safe space for autism families to authentically enjoy themselves and each other.
Regardless of the focus, these charities use donations for the true benefit of individuals affected by autism, and supporting them will be a great way to contribute meaningfully to that colorful puzzle that covers the internet once a year!