The 14th annual World Autism Awareness Day is here! All over the world, people are showing love and support towards those with autism. The theme this year is Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges & Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World.
New normals are coming into place with the world entering a post-pandemic state, and many things have been highlighted. The most prominent challenge people have noticed is inequality, especially in the workplace concerning wealth and health distribution. Those with autism especially experience these levels of inequality.
For this year’s virtual event, participants can hear two different panels about this topic from individuals with autism who have experienced these challenges and have found opportunities in employment.
History Behind World Autism Day
World Autism Awareness Day began when the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared April 2nd as World Autism Day (A/RES/62/139). This day was proclaimed in hopes of “highlighting the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.”
The United Nations has always celebrated diversity and promoted the rights of persons with disabilities.” In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, reaffirming the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all. Its purpose is to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and promote respect for their inherent dignity. It is a vital tool to foster an inclusive and caring society for all and to ensure that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives.”
Themes in Past Years
Each year the UN gives a theme for World Autism Awareness Day to educate and reflect on how everyone can love and support the members of the autism community. The theme is typically centered around recently highlighted issues people with autism are facing. Autism-friendly events and seminars also become available for those who wish to attend. Last year, the theme was “the Transition to Adulthood.”
World Autism Awareness Day themes began in 2012 with the “Launch of Official UN Awareness of Rising Stamp” and have covered subjects such as education, employment, inclusion, and girls with autism.
How Lexington Incorporates Workplace Opportunities
Growing up with a sister who has severe autism and who struggled in formal education herself, Harrison Rogers, Lexington Services Founder, and CEO, always wanted to find a solution for what he believed was broken informal education, thus founding and building what Lexington is today.
Today, Lexington is proud to offer Transition to Employment and new programs, Vocational Education and Supported Training (VEST), and Home Enrichment Life Program (HELP) programs to help members with autism become independent. These programs each provide members with a practical set of skills to live a full, meaningful life.
Transition to Employment
Transition to Employment or TTE is a service that teaches individuals with disabilities that qualify for employment the “meaning, value and demands of work and in the development of positive attitudes toward work.” This program is related to several employment initiatives designed to provide training and support to promote integrated and competitive employment skills.
The overall goal of the program is to help members transition to a more independent employment setting. This program can also guide individuals through unpaid shadowing experiences to engage with their interests and current skill set.
This summer, the Transition to Employment program is offering a summer program! Participants will spend 11 weeks developing the skills necessary for integrated and competitive employment. They will be guided through unpaid shadowing experiences to engage with their interest and current talent set to work toward a career.
For more information or to register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lexington also provides programs within the schools to help develop skills. VEST and HELP are perfect examples of in-school programs, each with a specific focus for the future. For more information on the following programs, please contact the specific school as these programs may live under different names.
VEST (Vocational Education and Supported Training)
Lexington Life Academy’s VEST Program, a new program being offered this fall, offers students who have completed traditional high school courses but require further instruction invocation and supported training. This program solely focuses on a young adult’s vocational education and leads to competitive employment and or work experience.
HELP (Home Enrichment Life Program)
In addition to the academic programs at Lexington Life Academy, students can enter into the HELP Program, a new program launching this fall. In the HELP Program, students learn practical and functional living skills to prepare them to function appropriately in the community, workplace, and at home. These programs include a multitude of areas such as:
- Pre-vocational skills
- Daily living skills
- Community-based instruction
- Cooking skills
- Functional reading and math skills
While World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd, the month of April is National Autism Awareness Month. Take the time to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how to support loved ones who have autism. Lexington blogs are a great place to start!