Most people recognize April 1st as a significant day on the calendar because of April Fools’ Day, but within the realm of autism, the first day of April marks something a little bit different. Namely, it’s the first day of National Autism Awareness Month, first given this designation in April 1970 by the Autism Society.
The goal of this month is to educate the public and build awareness around autism spectrum disorders, and the difficulties and challenges that children with autism face. The official imagery has since come to be a puzzle piece. The idea behind the puzzle pieces is to represent the complexity of autism spectrum disorders, and also, as every puzzle piece is different in some way, they represent the diversity of every individual affected by autism. Lastly, the bright colors of the ribbon signify hope – hope that through increased awareness, early intervention and appropriate treatments, all people with autism will be able to lead happier, fuller, more complete lives and improve their daily living skills. In addition to the puzzle piece, the official color for National Autism Awareness Month is a bright royal blue.
Here at Partners In Excellence, our goals are directly aligned with those of National Autism Awareness Month, which is why we will be actively participating throughout the month of April. Every Tuesday of each week will be known as “Terrific Tuesday” in which our children and staff dress accordingly to fun themes like Mismatch Day and Wacky Hair Day. On Sunday, April 7th we will be taking part in Highlight It Up Blue at Tera Photography in Burnsville, MN. There will be bright blue hair extensions being put in by volunteer professional hair stylists, some great pictures will be taken, and you’ll be given some information that can help you spread the word about autism. If you’re interested in learning more, you can head to the Highlight It Up Blue For Autism Awareness Facebook page, and if you’re interested in attending, you can join the Facebook event here. During the month of April Partners In Excellence will be having two open houses! On Sunday, April 14th we will be having a super hero themed open house in La Crosse, Wisconsin at its NEW location, get more details here. On Sunday, April 27th our North Saint Paul site will be having an open house with lots of fun for the whole family, you can learn more about it here.
Lastly, if you’re a Minnesota Wild fan there is another great way for parents and children to get involved in the Twin Cities during National Autism Awareness Month. The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) has teamed up with the Wild for a fundraising opportunity by discounting tickets to Wild games throughout April, with a portion of every ticket purchase going directly to AuSM. You can click here to view the schedule for the discounted home games and to learn more about the partnership.
Be sure to visit our Facebook page throughout April to keep up on all of the Autism Awareness happenings at Partners, and ask us about why our therapists are so excited about puzzles. We hope you’ll get involved with National Autism Awareness Month, and that you’ll join us on Sunday, April 7th for Highlight It Up Blue!