2020 Disability Awareness Month and Observance Calendar

 

The calendar includes major special needs awareness months, weeks, and days. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional materials and fact sheets.  This page focus is on awareness activities that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities only.

January

January (Month)

National Birth  Defects Month

January (Week)

January 19-25- Special Education Week

January (Day)

January 4- World Braille Day

January 20- International Day of Acceptance

January 24- Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

February

February (Month)

Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

February (Day)

February 15- International Angelman Day

February 28- Rare Disease Day

March

March (Month)

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

National Early Intervention Awareness Month

Kidney Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

Social Work Awareness Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

March (Day)

March 1- Self-Injury Day

March 1- International Wheelchair Day

March 21- World Down Syndrome Day

March 26- Purple Day for Epilepsy

April

April (Day)

April 1- Paraprofessional Appreciation Day

April 2- World Autism Awareness Day 

May

May (Month)

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Early Intervention Awareness Month

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Prader Willi Syndrome Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

May (Day)

May 1- Global Developmental Delay Day

May (Week)

May 4-6 Children Mental Health Awareness Week

May 15- Tuberous Sclerosis Global Awareness Day

May 5-12- Cri du Chat Awareness Week

June

June (Month)

Aphasia Awareness Month

June (Week)

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week (Last Sunday in June)

Scoliosis Awareness Month

June (Day)

June 17- CDKL5 Awareness Day 

June 23- Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day (Canada)

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

July

July (Day)

July 14- Disability Pride Parade (NY)

July 14- Disability Awareness Day (UK)

July 22- National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Day

July 26- American Disabilities Act Day (30 Year Anniversary) 

September

September (Month)

Chiari Awareness Month

Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome Awareness Month

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

National Spinal Cord Awareness Month

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sepsis Awareness Month

September (Week)

September 13-19- Direct Support Professional Week

September 7- World Duchenne Awareness Day

September 9- Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

October

October (Month)

ADHD Awareness Month

Disability History Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Dysautonomia Awareness

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

October (Day)

October 5- World Teacher’s Day

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

October 10- National Depression Screening Day

October 15- White Cane Awareness Day

October (Week)

October 4-10- Mental Illness Awareness Week 

October 13-19 Invisible Disabilities Week

October 13-19 International OCD Awareness Week

October 19-23- National School Bus Safety Week

National Physical Therapy Month

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Special Needs Law Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

November

November (Month)

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

November (Day)

November 1- LGS Awareness Day

November 4- National Stress Awareness Day

November 15- World Ohtahara Syndrome Awareness Day

December

December (Day)

December 2- National Special Education Day

December 3- International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December (Week)

December 1-7- Infantile Spasm

Thoughts and ideas to support children and adults with autism

Source: Living Autism
Written by: Geoff Evans

One definition of a foundation refers to it being an anchor and providing a solid surface upon which to build.
In a world of quick fixes and instant solutions when supporting individuals with autism we are all at risk of being drawn in to trying interventions and approaches that offer a quick fix or an easy solution without having to do all the hard work of laying the foundations that will help ensure success.
Over many years of working with children and adults with autism I have learnt that what often works is taking time to lay the foundations, that is to ensure we have both the values and best practice in place to support what we do. In this article I explore some of the basics that help provide a firm foundation upon which we can build successful interventions and approaches.

The person with autism has a right to be consulted with and involved in all aspects of living their lives including what approaches and interventions are used

Underpinning all we do should be a commitment to seeking the views and opinions of the person with autism irrespective of their abilities and how autism impacts upon them. Whilst we may take this for granted in the past we might have often put approaches and strategies in place without consulting and actively involving the person with autism and then wondered why they were not successful. I will cover this area in more detail in a future article; however, for now it is worth considering and asking yourself the following:

1. What support and methods can we put in place to enable the person with autism to be fully involved, make comments and make real choices regarding their lives and the support they receive? This can include the use of photographs, symbols, video clips or one of the many Apps that are now available for smart devices. Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

Autistic Teenager Creates App To Help People On The Spectrum

Source: Forbes
Written by: Nicholas Fearn

An 18-year-old software developer has created an iOS app to help those on the autistic spectrum in their day-to-day lives.

Ethan Shallcross, who has a form of autism and lives in the English town of Torquay, developed Aumi to enable people to manage their anxiety, monitor their mental health and reduce burnout.

“The app has been built with people on the autism spectrum in mind, and his has influenced the design and functionality of the entire app,” he says. “However, it is not just for people on the autism spectrum. People who have high anxiety, are frequently burnt out, or struggle with their mental health may also find it useful.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

What you should know about severe autism

Media is slowly getting better in it’s portrayal of people with autism in both movies and television, while many still hold onto to the perception of “Rain Man”, I do believe we are moving in the right direction. Still, little is discussed or talked about when it comes to children and adults with severe autism. Some may refer to severe autism as “low functioning when in fact autism is a spectrum in both symptoms and behaviors and varies from person to person.

Children and adults with severe autism often display the following signs :

  • Impaired social interaction
  • Difficulty in communicating- both expressive and receptive
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • anxiety
  • aggressiveness
  • self-injurious

According to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there are 3 levels of severity based on social communication impairments, restricted, and patterns of behaviors. The severity level (Level 3) is defined as requiring very substantial support. For example the person may exhibit very limited initiation of social interaction and extreme difficulty with coping and change. signs may include an indifference in others, using negative behavior to communicate, very little or echolalia, sensory sensitivity will vary from severe to none, may be self-injurious and have an intellectual disability.  Below you will find articles on understanding severe nonverbal autism:

5 nonverbal children that found their voices

Autism: How do you communicate with a non-verbal child

Helping nonverbal kids to communicate

I have nonverbal autism…Here is what I want you to know

Nonverbal autism: Symptoms and treatment activities

Missing brain wave may explain language problems in nonverbal autism

Overview of nonverbal autism

What makes severe autism so challenging?

Why being nonverbal doesn’t mean being non-capable

Why children with severe autism are overlooked?

 

16 Must-Read AutismTraining Resources In The U.K.

There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the U.K.- An estimated 1 in 100 people are affected. Studies also show that 60% of teachers in England do not feel they have adequate training to teach children with autism.

Thankfully across the U.K., a number of trainings that focus on autism help parents, professionals, caregivers and educators learn more about the autism spectrum disorder. below are links to trainings in the U.K.

England

Autism West Midlands
  • Autism West Midlands supports families and people with autism. Seminars and workshops are offered as well as an annual conference on autism.
Child Autism U.K.
  • Child Autism U.K. provides information and support for parents of children with autism. Training courses for parents includes beginner ABA and social skills.
The National Autistic Society- 
  • Leading U.K. charity for autistic children and their families. Provides information, support and services. NAS offers scheduled training events, in-house training and online training modules including training modules on communication, sensory experiences, stress and anxiety and physical activity.

Northern Ireland

Autism Initiatives
  • Provides a range of person-centered services throughout the U.K. Autism Initiatives Northern Ireland includes a learning and development department which is designed to meet the needs of all professional staff. Upcoming training topics for July includes, Understanding Autism, Epilepsy Awareness, and Keeping Children Safe. E-Learning courses are also available.
Autism NI
  • Northern Ireland’s longest-serving autism charity and training provider. Autism NI  provides family support workshops and discussion group. Training topics include, Fundamentals of Autism, Understanding Social Skills, Sensory Processing, and PECS training courses are held off-site.
Centre For Autism
  • Provides a wide range of training for professionals working with autistic children to parents, educators and caregivers. The organization also publishes a research bulletin designed to meet the needs of professionals working in education with autistic children. Trainings for parents include topics on, transition, sensory processing and life skills
PEAT
  • PEAT provides a wide range of training services for parents of children with autism and professionals involved with individuals with autism. PEAT provides in-house training and tailors made programs to meet the needs of parent groups and specific organizations.
The National Autistic Society, Northern Ireland
  • Provides information, support and training for autistic people, families, and professionals. Offers a variety of scheduled events, courses and online training modules.

Scotland

Autism Forth Valley
  • The Autism Forth Valley Website includes a table which contains information on training providers and courses including university courses on autism, professional organizations and social service agencies.
NHS Education for Scotland
  • NES offers a wide range of education and training support for both clinical and non-clinical staff in Scotland. Formats include e-learning, workbooks, publications and blended learning.
Scottish Autism
  • Provides a wide range of support services across Scotland for individuals with autism, their families and professionals. Scottish Autism offers external training core courses including, Introduction to Autism and Autism Profiling.

Wales

ASDinfoWales
  • An E-learning introductory course on autism spectrum disorder. Participants will be asked to answer a series of 20 questions. Once completed, participants will receive a certification.
Awares
  • Provides a library with a wealth of information on autism topics from previous conferences in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Geared towards professionals however this are also useful information for parents as well. Sample topics include; psychosexual development in ASD, A guide for practioners and resources for families living in Wales.
Learning Disability Wales
  • Training program includes a range of person-centered and practical courses for people in the public, voluntary and private sectors as well as parents and caregivers. Courses include a fee at an onsite facility. Training topics include, An Introduction to Mindfulness and Making Information Easy to Read and Understand
Ringway Training

A training provider delivering online courses on autism for professionals working with children, young people and adults on a host of topics including, Autism Spectrum Condition Advance Level Training and Autism and ADHD

The National Autistic Society/Wales
  • Offers a host of free one-hour webinars for teachers, professionals and parents. The website includes two series of one hour webinars on various topics such as, promoting inclusion, preventing bullying, and neurodevelopment and social competence in autism spectrum disorder.