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xMinds Logo - xMinds in teal and dark blue where the X looks like a person with an orange head; followed by the words Partnership for Extraordinary MindsImproving education for autistic students in Montgomery County, MD

Activities for Autism Acceptance Month

xMinds is thrilled to be participating in Autism Acceptance Month this April! We are working toward a society that accepts autistic individuals as they are and views differences as part of what makes each of us unique in a neurodiverse society.

How Is xMinds Celebrating?

xMinds is proud to be part of Autism Acceptance Day with the Legislature, on Tuesday, April 2, at the Maryland State House in Annapolis. Spearheaded by the ARC Maryland, the day will include formal proclamations from the General Assembly floor. In preparation, we'll be delivering packets of information about autism to every state delegate and senator on Tuesday, March 26. If you would like to help, please contact xMinds Executive Director Melanie Carlos at mcarlos@xminds.org.

Shine Brighter Together logoJoin xMinds at the countywide Shine Brighter Together family-friendly event to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month on Saturday, April 6, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM at Wheaton Regional Park. Bring the whole family for sensory-friendly story times, face painters, roving characters, arts and crafts, exercise demos, performances, and more. You'll also find information about autism and a variety of related resources available in the county. The free event is sponsored by Montgomery Parks along with various agencies and organizations throughout the county, including xMinds. Stop by the xMinds table to meet our staff and volunteers!

What Can YOU and Your School Do to Recognize Autism Acceptance Month?

Here are some fun and easy ways that schools can participate in Autism Acceptance Month, spreading the message of inclusion and understanding.

1. Celebrate with “Autism Acceptance Spirit Week”

Host an “Autism Acceptance Spirit Week” that engages students while educating them about autism. Invite kids to wear pajamas on Sensory Friendly Friday or tie-dyed clothes on Neurodiversity Tuesday.

Download a complete week of ideas provided by The Neurodivergent Teacher.

2. Get to Know Some Famous Autistic Individuals

Did you know that environmental activist Greta Thunberg — who leaped onto the world stage as a teenager — is autistic? She even calls it her superpower. She's part of a long list of accomplished autistic individuals, including NASCAR driver Armani Williams and golf phenom Carter Bonas, who launched his own line of golf apparel as a kid, and was selected as SportsKid of the year in 2022 by "Sports Illustrated." 

Create a bulletin board celebrating the accomplishments of autistic individuals, and present short bios during the morning announcements throughout April. Consider inviting students to write up these short reports.

Check out these bios prepared by volunteers for Autism Acceptance Month at their children’s schools:

  • Tom Angleberger, author of the "Origami Yoda" series, who credits his creative word flow to Asperger’s syndrome
  • Temple Grandin, an expert in animal behavior, whose knack for "thinking in pictures," enabled her to develop more humane ways for raising cattle
  • Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds of all time. This famous physicist wasn’t diagnosed with autism during his lifetime, but many experts now believe he was autistic.

3. Read All About It!

Over the years, we’ve seen an increasing number of kids’ books that focus on autistic characters and celebrate their neurodiversity. Encourage your school librarian to create a book display for Autism Acceptance Month. Invite preschool and elementary school teachers to share some of these stories during read-aloud time; secondary teachers can introduce students to novels and biographies about autistic individuals. Check out the xMinds Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature by Autistic Authors, Featuring Autistic Characters.

4. Go to the Video

Open students’ eyes to autism and spread the message of acceptance with the help of a short video. A few to watch:

  • Autism Self Advocacy Network offers a series of videos educating the public about autism acceptance and the importance of listening to autistic individuals.
  • The Neurobears. Just like there are many different types of bears, there are many different types of brain. This video helps young children understand neurodiversity and autism.
  • Sesame Street fosters inclusive behaviors among its young viewers through a series of video clips, including ones starring the Muppet character Julia as a 4-year-old with autism.
  • What’s Up With Nick? In an effort to promote a more inclusive classroom environment, this short animated video teaches elementary and middle school students about their peers with autism. The video is part of an educational kit by the Organization for Autism Research that includes a booklet, lesson, and activity workbooks.

For more information and resources about autism, check out the Autism Acceptance website of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

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