Across North Carolina, thousands of individuals with autism, their families and caregivers will recognize World Autism Awareness Day today, April 2. In recent years, almost 1,500 people have come together at Camp Royall, the society’s permanent campsite, to celebrate the day and mark the beginning of Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. This year, due to COVID-19 safety measures, instead of an in-person celebration, the Autism Society of North Carolina is working to share information about autism, increase understanding and support the autism community.
“This year, there are no in-person celebrations because of the stay at home orders. However, people have a unique opportunity to share their story and a glimpse into daily life via social media with the hash tag #ThisIsAutism,” said David Laxton, director of communications for ASNC. “With everyone staying at home, it’s a great time for the autism community to help all North Carolinians better understand autism and the daily joys and challenges they experience.”
Children and adults with autism often struggle when routines are disrupted. Because of COVID-19, the general population has experienced some of the anxiety and challenges that the autism community lives with all the time. New rules for social distancing, hand-washing and healthy habits are now more important than ever, and much of the information that is being used to help us understand COVID-19 is visually oriented – another similarity to the experience of the autism community.
The Autism Society’s COVID-19 resource page (https://autismsociety-nc.org/coronavirus) includes:
- Coronavirus information, visual guides and social narratives for a variety of activities and disruptions in routines, and links for mental health and family resources.
- ASNC also has an online library of more than 20 free webinars that offer helpful information and strategies for parents and caregivers, with new webinars added weekly.
- Importantly, ASNC is also available to help people throughout North Carolina through 20 Autism Resource Specialists covering all 100 counties. Those in need of support can call 800-442-2762.
To share your story, post online with the hash tag #ThisIsAutism
To view ASNC’s coronavirus page, visit www.autismsociety-nc.org/coronavirus.