April is Autism Acceptance Month. Every April, we ask our member organizations what they are doing to acknowledge and celebrate Autism Awareness Month. This is a great way to highlight some of the great work they are doing and to hopefully inspire you as you plan your own Autism Awareness Month initiatives.
Here is what they shared.
American Airlines is heavily invested in the autism awareness community. American Airlines has developed a homegrown program called “It’s Cool to Fly to American” at various participating airports – most recently Louisville, KY and San Diego, CA. The program is five years old and provides children on the autism spectrum with a simulated airport experience. Children and their families prepare for flying by going though security, finding a gate, boarding the plane and taxiing on the runway as a trial flight experience. Additional locations for 2019 include Miami FL, Jacksonville FL, Chicago IL, Dallas TX, and Washington DC.
Here are a few highlights from our BP Accessibility BRG:
Chevron’s ENABLED network is sponsoring a special Disabilities Awareness Workshop Event at their headquarters in San Ramon.
Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Best Buddies International, an international organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities find employment and social opportunities, will serve as the special keynote speaker.
Through Shriver’s stewardship, Best Buddies has grown into a leading nonprofit entity with increasing international reach across six continents and 53 countries, establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
After the keynote address, attendees will have the opportunity to experience the challenges of several disabilities through a variety of simulated activities including hearing, sight, mobility, learning, cognitive and mental health impairments. Participants who complete at least three simulations will earn a special edition commemorative ENABLED coin.
Through FINRA’s Disability and Wellness Network (DAWN) Employee Resource Group, FINRA supports and makes efforts in bringing autism awareness and education throughout the month of April and beyond! Below are a few upcoming programs in April:
Our Autism Committee supported the Making Strides for Autism 5K and Walk. We also supported wearing Blue to support Autism on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, National Autism Awareness day. Florida Blue turned our downtown building Blue in support of National Autism awareness day.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson’s disabilities ERG, Alliance for Diverse Abilities, has a subgroup, the Autism Spectrum Group, which is focused on Autism. The Autism Spectrum Group is taking the lead on various activations with the purpose of:
We are planning several discussion panels which will feature people with a variety of connections to Autism. A sampling include:
We will be piloting an Autism-friendly “Take Your Child to Work Day” at one of our locations in the US, with a future plan to scale broader in the following years. Learnings will be applied to future “Take Your Child to Work Day” events at other sites.
The Autism Spectrum Group has plans to connect with members of the Philadelphia ARC’s Autism Employment Support Program to discuss ideas on improving recruitment and retention of those on the spectrum.
Autism Awareness Month
The 2nd Annual Reverse Job Fair allows employers to tap into a diverse workforce of candidates ready to transition to work. Be prepared to experience role reversal at this non-traditional job fair where the candidates set up displays and the employers move from table to table to meet the candidates.
DATE: Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 | 8:30am-10:30am
LOCATION: Wood Lake Meeting Center
REGISTRATION: Free and open to all employers and public. Registration is preferred.
See a promo of the job fair, here.
Click here for more information on the job fair.
Merck & Co.
Merck has provided a grant and became the principal sponsor of the autism-friendly performance of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at a New Jersey theater during the 2018-2019 season.
Autism-friendly performances are theater experiences in which the environment and typical “rules of attendance” have been relaxed to accommodate individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, as well as their families and the professionals who support them.
In April, Merck has offered a number of tickets to employees to employees with a child in their life who would benefit from an autism friendly future performance of Beauty and the Beast.
Further, the grant support is being used by the theater company to sponsor an expansion of their Adopt-A-School Project – to serve children with disabilities.
Merck outdoor signage at various locations will be lit in blue all April for Autism Awareness Month.
Merck supports World Autism Month with Light it Up Blue selfies taken with employees sharing their messages across our internal websites, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Merck will be a proud sponsor at the Best Buddies Walk for Inclusion at the end of April. Merck will have a team made up of employees and their families.
Take Your Child To Work Day-Special Needs Accommodations
Merck is committed to building an inclusive, accommodating workplace for its employees. Merck sites encourage employees who have children with special needs to participate in this year’s Take Your Child to Work Day programs and activities. Merck Facilities Management has partnered with the Merck capABILITY Network EBRG to offer special accommodations for Take Your Child To Work Day 2019 to ensure a meaningful and successful day for every Merck employee’s child.
A “Quiet Room” will be available for children who will need a break during the day, with an option to have lunch in the quiet room instead of the cafeteria. Physical access support, allergy support, parental support during events and activities will all be available during the event. Other accommodations are also available upon request
For Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Day, our CapAble Associate Network (CAN) brought awareness to U.S. Cellular by celebrating with the Light it Up Blue Campaign and a focus on the puzzle piece image.
Here is a list of other CAN efforts around Autism Awareness: