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April 2024: Autism Acceptance Month

WHEREAS, Autism Spectrum Disorder affects more than five million people in the United States; and,

WHEREAS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1 in 36 children may have autism; and,

WHEREAS, autism is a neurological and developmental disorder characterized by social impairment and restricted interactive and communication behaviors, and can affect anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic background; and,

WHEREAS, symptoms and characteristics of autism may present in a variety of combinations and can result in significant, lifelong challenges in areas affecting learning, daily living, employment, social-interactive behaviors, and understanding verbal and nonverbal communications; and,

WHEREAS, as the effort to address autism continues, physicians, psychologists, behavior analysts, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, vocational rehabilitation professionals, educators, and other providers can assist persons with autism and their families by supporting early identification, education, health care, service provision, intervention, employment, recreation and other opportunities that are vital to enhanced development and well-being; and,

WHEREAS, it is critical to ensure that persons living with autism have access to the lifelong supports and services needed to pursue the full measure of personal happiness, independence, and community inclusion to achieve their greatest potential; and,

WHEREAS, much more can be done to better support individuals with autism as they strive to acquire, maintain, and advance in employment pathways that best support their interests and needs, including collaboration among state agencies, families, providers, payers, and advocacy organizations, providing individualized and customized support offering comprehensive training and conducting better advocacy and outreach strategies; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan is honored to celebrate the many ways individuals with autism enhance the quality of our communities, and is committed to fostering acceptance and a sense of belonging as we work together to create a more welcoming and inclusive state for all;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 2024 as Autism Acceptance Month in Michigan.