Do you have a loved one with autism? If you do, or one of your loved ones has someone in his or her life with autism, it can be important to offer support and recognition all year round. Every April, however, the country recognizes National Autism Acceptance Month, providing an opportunity to really step up and be the change that may be needed in the world for people with autism. Let us discuss three ways to help a loved one during National Autism Acceptance Month.

1. Be a Buddy. If you have a school-aged loved one with autism, offer support in school and in other activities. While many public schools offer mainstream programs or support services on a one-to-one basis, children with autism often struggle equally or more with the social aspect of school, not just the academics. It can be tough to make friends when you feel different. Being a buddy can help tremendously, as can encouraging your loved one to get involved in sports, music, or any other activity they might enjoy.

2. Help with Education or Job Applications. Your autistic loved one may face difficulty when it comes to applying to college or finding a job. A great way to help may be to guide them through the process if you have the knowledge to do so or become an advocate in your community for employing autistic adults. 

3. Support Organizations that Support the Differently Abled. Some businesses are firmly committed to employment opportunities for people of different abilities, including people with autism. By choosing to support this kind of business, instead of a regular chain, you are putting your money to good use, both for yourself, your loved ones with autism, and your community.

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