Skip to main content Skip to navigation
We care about your privacy. Read about your rights and how we protect your data. Get Details

COVID-19 Update:Learn more about how we are protecting our patients, families and staff, as well as other important facts about COVID-19.

CASD Chat: April 2022 - Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month

Download this month's CASD Chat newsletter (PDF)

April is Autism Acceptance month! The name reflects a change from “Autism Awareness Month” as we move to not just acknowledge autistic individuals, but include them in our communities. This means not just opening the door for them, but encouraging and, if needed, helping them join in. We hope we have contributed to acceptance of individuals with autism by highlighting a public figure with autism in our monthly CHAT to reflect the diversity of the community.

Another way to promote acceptance is to share programs which have supported the autistic community and have been helpful in highlighting the impact of individuals with autism in all aspects of society, such as ASAN, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. We wanted to highlight a few local organizations and celebrations in today’s CASD CHAT to enhance community connections, which we hope you find helpful, and encourage everyone to participate in local autism community programs.

Montgomery County, MD

Various agencies from across the county are “shining brighter together” on April 23 at a fun family-friendly event at Wheaton Regional Park! Participate in hands-on, sensory-friendly activities while learning more about autism and the variety of resources available in Montgomery County. Attendees will also have an opportunity to help paint our commUNITY Mural that will remain at the playground long after the event is over.

The Autism Society of Central Virginia

The Autism Society of Central Virginia has kicked off their “Humans of the ASCV” campaign, inspired by Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” to highlight the local autism community, spread awareness, and promote acceptance and change in the community. They invite everyone to participate and provide various resources including books for all ages, TV and film recommendations, and suggestions to support autistic individuals.

Baltimore County Public Schools

The Baltimore County Public Schools Special Education Resource Center is hosting an online program on May 12: “Ben Hartranft’s Journey: One Kind Person Can Change the World.” Ben Hartranft Hartranft is a self-advocate and motivational speaker, sharing how kindness and inclusion shaped his life and he hopes to move others from awareness to advocacy

This CASD CHAT was written by Angela Bollich, Ph.D., supported by Serene Habayeb, Ph.D., and research assistant, Jessica Smith.

Profiles Celebrating Neurodiversity

Clay Marzo was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, in December 2007; (Asperger Syndrome was one of a few diagnoses used for individuals with ASD prior to 2013). Like many autistic individuals, he was often misunderstood by others. He was known for being painfully honest. He has repetitive movements (rubbing his hands back and forth) and demonstrated an intense interest: surfing!

His focus on surfing, paired with other gifts such as originality, contributed to his success including national surf championships. Mr. Marzo is expanding autism acceptance by sharing his story, both in a documentary and a book on his experiences as a surfer and Asperger Syndrome, and volunteer work with Surfers Healing, a non-profit organization from Malibu, California, which exposes autistic children to surfing at camps in the United States and Canada.

The Talk – Black, Autistic and Male: One Family's Experience

We would like to share an interview with a family of a college-bound autistic young adult and an accompanying reflection by Tawara Goode, director of the National Center for Cultural Competence and director of the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

View the video.

Other Resources