April 2021: Autism Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Autism spectrum disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, affecting more than five million people; and,


WHEREAS, youth with Autism have been identified as the primary population of individuals with a disability in Michigan as either currently or predicted to be underserved. It is an urgent public health crisis that demands state and national responses; and,

WHEREAS, Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder characterized by social impairment and restricted interactive and communication behaviors that can affect anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic background; and,


WHEREAS, symptoms and characteristics of Autism may present in a variety of combinations and can result in significant, lifelong challenges in areas of learning, social-interactive behaviors, and understanding verbal and nonverbal communication; and,


WHEREAS, as the effort to address Autism continues, physicians, psychologists, behavior analysts, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, vocational rehabilitation professionals, and educators can assist persons with Autism and their families through early identification, as well as appropriate education, intervention, and recreational opportunities that further growth and development; and,


WHEREAS, it is also important to ensure that persons living with Autism have access to lifelong support and service needed to pursue personal happiness, independence, and community inclusion to achieve their greatest potential; and,


WHEREAS, much more can be done to better support individuals with Autism as they look to obtain, maintain, and advance in employment, including collaborating among state agencies and partner groups, providing individual and custom support, offering comprehensive training, and conducting better advocacy and outreach strategies; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan is honored to take part in the annual observance of Autism Awareness Month in the hope that it will lead to a better understanding, treatment, and support for Autism;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 2021 as Autism Awareness Month in Michigan.