Autism affects about 1% of the US population. Among younger children the rates have been higher – about 1 in 68 children are currently estimated to have autism. This means that most people know at least one family affected by autism. We have a lot of people in my own extended and immediate family who are on the spectrum, and most of my employees over the years have been on the spectrum or have had a family member who is – it’s part of why we do what we do!
While many people focus on the challenges of being atypical – and there are many – we firmly believe – and have experienced – the truth that there is a great deal of potential and joy for those living with autism, when they have the right support and tools to succeed, and for their families.
Within the high-functioning autism community in the last 10-15 years, there has been a large push to receive recognition and representation from those within their group. Rather than focusing on ‘curing’ autism, many in the community want to focus on celebrating their uniqueness, while acquiring the right tools to navigate the neuro-typical world. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has been leading the charge in calling for self-representation, in: government regulations, lifestyle and medical therapies, support groups, and public discourse.
Better Batter is closely aligned with this mission – as I said, our staff have non-neurotypical family members or are on the spectrum themselves, and we have seen first hand the beauty and ingenuity that can emerge from the gifting of those within the autism community, when they are plugged into the right environment and resources.
We agree with ASAN that the best representation for those with ASD comes from the high functioning member of their own community. When we allow and enable those within the autism culture and community to share their wants, needs, and desires with us, we enter into a meaningful and productive dialogue that helps everyone move forward in the healthiest way possible.
Our partnership with ASAN and our own internal autism financial aid and employment programs allow us to put ensure that those with autism and their families are heard, are included, are supported, and are celebrated for all the hard work and love that they live out daily.
This month, we’re raising funds to support our autism advocacy and support projects. You can partner with us at checkout to supercharge this project any time at checkout, or you can donate to our project HERE.