Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month: Embracing Neurodiversity and Advocating for Inclusion

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month: Embracing Neurodiversity and Advocating for Inclusion

April is Autism Acceptance Month, a time when we celebrate the unique contributions of individuals on the autism spectrum and strive to create a more inclusive world. While awareness of autism has increased significantly over the years, there’s still much work to be done in terms of acceptance and understanding.  

In 2021 the Autism Society shifted its terminology from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month. There can be no doubt that today everyone is aware of autism, as it impacts at least 70 million people worldwide. Today, we accept that there are many ways people think, experience and interpret the world, and contribute to society. At Prosperi-Key, we stand with the families who support loved ones with autism. We know that having a child on the spectrum can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing the financial impact of specialized care and resources. Let’s explore some of the financial implications if you are raising a child with autism. 

Having a child with autism affects the whole family but can also have a significant financial impact. The need for special resources and support can result in added expenses, and families may face unique challenges when it comes to employment and childcare. 

One of the biggest expenses families of children with autism face is the cost of summer camps. While typical summer camps are already a financial challenge for many families that live paycheck to paycheck, camps designed for children with autism may require even more specialized staff and resources, driving up the cost significantly. Depending on the location and duration of the camp, families may have to shell out thousands of dollars per week to provide their child with a safe and supportive environment during the summer months. 

If you’re looking for summer camp options for your child on the spectrum, we’ve found a couple of resources that may be helpful.  

Autism Parenting Magazine – While this article is from last year, it highlights the benefits of summer camps for kids with autism. It also has descriptions of some specific camps throughout the US. Always do your own homework and ask for parent references. 

AngelSense has a great list of special needs camps. This month in honor of Autism Acceptance Month they are offering their AngelSense Device, a wearable GPS device for free to help families protect their loved ones and get peace of mind. They have monthly and annual plans that provide GPS tracking, guardian alerts and geofences. With summer fast approaching, I learned that drowning is a leading cause of death for children with autism and devices like this provide additional safeguards for children that wander away. 

Beyond the cost of summer camps, families of children with autism may face a range of other expenses related to their child’s care, from therapy and medical expenses to employment challenges as they become adults. According to a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, families with children on the spectrum may spend an average of $17,000 more per year on support services than families with typically developing children. This underscores the importance of providing resources and support to help families manage these unique financial challenges. 

The financial impact of having a child with autism may also extend to the caregiver’s employment. Parents may need to adjust their work schedules or seek out more flexible jobs to accommodate their child’s needs, which can result in lower pay or missed job opportunities. Additionally, parents may need to take time off work to attend therapy sessions or appointments, which can further impact their income and financial stability. 

Fortunately, there are many free resources available to help families reduce their expenses when raising a child with autism. For example, Autism Speaks offers a range of toolkits, guides, and webinars on topics such as accessing services, financial planning, and community resources. The organization also has a toolkit on financial assistance resources such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which can help cover the cost of care and support. 

Additionally, many communities have support groups for families with children on the autism spectrum, which can offer free or low-cost resources like parent education programs, social events, and therapy programs. Children with autism are also entitled to special education services through their school district, which can include services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy. And there are many free and low-cost assistive technology tools available to help children with autism, such as communication apps, sensory aids, and behavior tracking apps. 

Parents who are concerned about their child’s development can use the M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers™) to determine if a professional evaluation is necessary. This online autism screening tool is quick and easy to use and is available on our website. If the results of the screening suggest that your child has a high probability of autism, it’s important to consult with your child’s doctor as soon as possible. 

In addition, we have compiled a list of centers in the CT area where you can get your child screened for autism. These centers include: 

· Focus Center For Autism – Fresh Start School in Canton, CT (860) 693-8809 

· Helping Hands Family – ABA Therapy in Trumbull, CT (484) 965-9966 

· Prism Autism Education & Consultation in Farmington, CT (860) 495-0126 

· Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting in Shelton, CT (203) 900-4720 

If you have any other concerns about your child’s development, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor about screening for autism.  

Prosperi-Key is dedicated to assisting families in easing the financial challenges of raising a child with autism. As part of our commitment, we provide a variety of discounts for affordable family activities and life expenses, as well as access to services like financial coaches designed specifically for moderate to low-income families. These resources are readily available for free to all our members. 

Raising a child with autism can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. By utilizing these resources and seeking support from your community, you can provide the best possible care for your child while minimizing the financial impact on your household. Together, we can work towards a world that celebrates and supports everyone, regardless of their differences. 

From an Austism Warrior 

How ProsperiKey has helped Wanda as she lives paycheck to paycheck with an autistic child

“This is a pic of some of the stuff we were able to purchase, I also got toilet paper, dish soap and paper towels, I’ve had covid and the flu for the last two weeks during Christmas/New Years and my income was down due to missing days of work, I was able to get some things we desperately needed! Along with a few treats and pjs.I just wish you guys knew how much this program means to us, and the help in the last few years it has provided us with, I’m a single mother to a disabled child, I work as much hours as I can in life around my daughter’s speech, OT, aba therapy and monthly med checks to the pediatrician and monthly eye checks for eye doctors  Pictures is daughter Alijah pronounced Elijah who is Autistic and rarely smiles” – Wanda, Key Member.

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April is Autism Acceptance Month, a time when we celebrate the unique contributions of individuals on the autism spectrum and strive to create a more inclusive world. While awareness of autism has increased significantly over the years, there’s still much work to be done in terms of acceptance and understanding.