Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disability in the world. Typically diagnosed during early childhood, it can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships and self-regulation. It affects people in different ways and to varying degrees.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 in 44 children have been identified with ASD. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. It impacts people across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
During Autism Acceptance Month, we join the Autism Society of America, and many individuals and organizations across the country, to spread awareness for early diagnosis, promote inclusion in the greater community, and practice acceptance in everyday life. In 1972, the Autism Society launched the first annual National Autistic Children’s Week, which evolved into Autism Acceptance Month.
Didlake’s Autism Center of Excellence: Meet Our New Director of ACE
Among Didlake employees, and participants of our Day Support and Employment Services programs, nearly 10 percent have autism. Our Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) serves as a resource to provide support, education and consultation. ACE strives to improve employment outcomes for individuals with autism, and increase corporate expertise in supporting people with autism in employment and rehabilitation services.
ACE is led by Rachel Payne, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, and our new Director of ACE, Meghan Stubbs. ACE serves as a resource and consultancy for internal staff, as well as for local businesses. Stubbs is certified as an Autism Specialist by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), the industry leader in training and certification in autism and other cognitive disorders. She is an endorsed Positive Behavior Support Facilitator and trained in Person-Centered Thinking from the Center for Person-Centered Practices, which is part of the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University. Stubbs is using her experience in these areas to help Didlake supervisors and rehabilitation teams to support employees and consumers with autism. ACE also supports businesses and community leaders that are interested in learning more about autism and raising disability awareness and knowledge in their workplaces.
Certified Autism Centers
This Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) database is a great resource for individuals with autism, and families and friends. A CAC is a facility or organization in which at least 80 percent of their staff is highly trained, fully equipped and certified in the field of autism. These organizations and individual providers are committed to ongoing training and education to remain experts in the field.
The database includes a variety of medical services, such as behavioral, occupational and physical therapy; community services; hospitals; hotels and resorts; parks and recreation; restaurants; retail services; and more. Fun fact: both Sesame Place locations, some SeaWorld parks, all 26 Six Flags in North America and Legoland’s Peppa Pig Theme Park are all Certified Autism Centers.
Resources for Businesses
Check out our website for a list of disability resources that will help businesses create a more inclusive workforce and promote successful employment for people with all types of disabilities, including autism, well beyond April. These organizations and websites provide valuable information for businesses to hire, train and retain a strong workforce.To learn more, contact [email protected], or visit the Autism Society’s website for more information about Autism Acceptance Month.