Blog Post

DBP Members Celebrate Autism Acceptance Month 2019

April 6, 2021

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

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:

  • Utilizing display screens throughout the office to share Autism Facts everyday throughout the month (Houston)
  • Hosting D&I moments related to Autism Awareness Month during townhall sessions (Chicago).
  • Content to include: What is Autism? What will this look like in our work place?
  • Yammer Postings each day of the month with Autism Facts (Houston & Chicago)

Chevron Corporation

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:

  • DAWN will have representation at the Autism @ Work event, Piecing Together the Talent Puzzle, sponsored by the DC Metro Business Leadership Network (BLN) and Autism Speaks. DAWN looks forward to joining the dialogue about the goal of enhancing and accelerating collaboration for business and employment success, and bringing back great best practices and considerations to leverage at FINRA.
  • DAWN is also focusing on Autism Awareness in their monthly Disability and Wellness Outreach newsletter that is circulated internally, that will include resources and education, as well as, external opportunities to get involved in, including Autism Awareness walks. FINRA’s team, The Running Regulators will be running again on July 4, 2019 at the Autism Speaks 5K walk in Maryland. On average, we have 50 FINRA employees per year who participate.
  • DAWN members and FINRA staff supported and participated in the “Light it up Blue” campaign by wearing blue to show support of people who are living with Autism. The campaign is a powerful campaign to raise awareness and encourage donations that will help support and further the missions and objectives of Autism Speaks. DAWN has advertised and encourages staff to donate to Autism Speaks through FINRA’s Workplace Giving Campaign, and to take advantage of FINRA’s matching gift program.


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:

  • Elevating awareness for Autism across our company globally
  • Enhancing our employees’ knowledge of Autism and the Johnson & Johnson benefits/services available to support them
  • Building broader connections across our employee base for those living with autism, including caregivers & advocates

We are planning several discussion panels which will feature people with a variety of connections to Autism. A sampling include:

  • “The Other Side of the Rainbow” – Parents of children with Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism
  • “Through My Eyes” – Individuals on the spectrum including Johnson & Johnson employees and teenagers
  • “Love Needs No Words” – Parents with non-verbal Autistic children
  • “Working With the Spectrum” – Managers and colleagues who have worked with individuals with Autism
  • “What Can We Do For You?” – Discussion and talks by our Global Health Services, Employee Assistance Program, and Workplace Experience Teams regarding benefits and services that can serve to assist those who are on the spectrum or who are raising children on the spectrum
  • “Hidden Dangers: Mental Health and Addiction in Autism” – A discussion about families’ struggles with mental health and addiction
  • . “Supporting Autism: Behavioral Therapy” – A behavioral therapist discusses various ways to help lessen the negative symptoms of Autism

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.

Mayo Clinic

Autism Awareness Month

  • The disABILITY MERG and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion will celebrate Autism Awareness on April 12 in Phillips Hall. “A Harbor for Neurodiverstiy” presented by Francie Dahlin generates awareness surrounding autism spectrum disorder and mental illness. There are many types of neurodiversity: Autism Spectrum, ADHD, Dyscalculia, Tourette Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and other neurological variations, as well as Mental Health. She also highlights how a neurodiverse workforce could benefit the entire team.
  • MaxAbility 2nd Annual Reverse Job Fair

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

U.S. Cellular

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:

  • April 2nd handed out “Did you know?” informational flyers
  • Various tabling events in our corporate office lobby will included:
  • Awareness posters displayed
  • Handouts and giveaways with the Autism Puzzle image were available
  • Puzzle shaped photo frame that associates/contractors could “frame themselves” for photo shoot
  • Puzzles for associates/contractors to work on breakroom tables
  • Sign-up sheet for the Autism Walk in Chicago on June 1, 2019
  • Raffle table for tactile items (Kinetic sand, water beads, 100 piece puzzle) that support the spectrum
    Our company café and coffee stand is handing out blue Autism wristbands, awareness cards and reference handouts for certain purchases.
  • Food/Beverage events:
    April 2nd – Blueberry Muffins in the lobby
    Week 1 – Blue Frappuccino at the coffee stand
    Week 2 – Blue Gelato Day in the lobby
    Week 3 – Blue Dessert Day (Rice Krispy treats or blueberry cobbler day)