Adult Autism Awareness Day Date in the current year: April 18, 2024

Adult Autism Awareness Day Adult Autism Awareness Day, also known as National Adult Autism Awareness Day, is observed annually on April 18. It was created to provide support for adults with autism and promote inclusiveness in education, employment, and every area of daily life.

Autism spectrum disorder, often referred to as simply autism, is an umbrella term for a number of neurodevelopmental disorders that share common characteristics: challenges in verbal and nonverbal communication and social interactions, and often restricted interests and repetitive behaviors, sensory reactivity (an unusual reaction to certain sensory stimuli), and resistance to change (a strict adherence to routines).

The autism rights movement and some researchers classify autism as part of neurodiversity (naturally existing diversity in human brain and cognition), as opposed to the more traditional classification of autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder. According to this approach, autism isn’t something to be prevented or cured; it’s a difference to be accommodated.

While autism in children is widely discussed, and schools typically have accommodations for autistic students, adult autism does not receive enough attention. A person doesn’t stop being autistic as soon as they turn 18. Adults with autism, even those with the so-called high-functioning autism (a categorization that has been criticized, by the way), experience various difficulties.

Individuals with autism have a hard time recognizing body language and social cues, which makes it hard for them to interact with other people and can be an obstacle to making friends and maintaining close friendships, dating, and finding work. They are more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder than neurotypical individuals, face bias when looking for a job, etc. Most of them learn to live with it, but proper accommodations and support could make their lives so much easier!

Adult Autism Awareness Day was launched in 2009 by (Achieving in Higher Education with Autism / Developmental Disabilities), a Pennsylvania-based private program providing support to college students with autism. Its goal is to raise awareness of the adult autism community, highlight the importance of transition planning (a process to help high school students with an IEP to get ready for adult life), promote inclusiveness through education, and improve employment and social outcomes for adults with autism.

There are many ways to observe Adult Autism Awareness Day. You can learn more about autism spectrum disorder in adults and its management, donate to or volunteer at an organization that supports adults with autism and their families, and contribute to dispelling stereotypes about autism in adults and destigmatizing it. If you’re yourself are autistic or otherwise neurodivergent, consider sharing your story on social media to show autistic adults around the globe that they are not alone in their struggles. And don’t forget to spread the word about the observance on social media with the hashtag #AdultAutismAwarenessDay.

Adult Autism Awareness Day isn’t the only autism-related observance. Similar awareness days include Autism Sunday (the second Sunday of February), Autistic Pride Day (June 18), and UN’s World Autism Awareness Day (April 2).

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