Skip to Content

Observing Autism Acceptance Heritage Month

Back to News Listing

Author(s)

University of Denver

News  •
Campus Life  •

In our continuing effort to recognize and celebrate the remarkable diversity that makes the University of Denver community the thriving research and learning community that it is, this April we celebrate Autism Acceptance Month.

According to the Autism Society of America, the prevalence of Autism in children has risen from 1 in 125 in 2010 to nearly 1 in 59 over the past decade. Autism advocates hope that, as awareness and acceptance of Autism increases within the larger population, the stigma of diagnosis and the social barriers that hinder people from living full and meaningful lives will dissipate.

In his 2007 New York Times best-selling book Look me in the Eye, John Elder Robison writes eloquently “Asperger’s is not a disease. It’s a way of being. There is no cure, nor is there a need for one. There is, however, a need for knowledge and adaptation on the part of Apsergian kids, and their families and friends.” A decade later, we as educators recognize that, just as friends and families do, we too must make systemic changes that will allow people with neuro-diverse identities to succeed in our research and learning spaces. At the University of Denver, the nationally recognized Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) provides students on the Autism spectrum with necessary support and advocacy. We are proud to say that the LEP will be celebrating its 40th year of service in 2022.

While formal diagnosis of those with Autism came decades later, some of our most noteworthy thinkers in history, including the likes of Albert Einstein and Emily Dickinson, are thought to have been on the Autism Spectrum. Oscar-winning actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Pokemon creator, Satoshi Tajiri, are some of the prominent people on the spectrum who now live successful lives and have made substantial contributions to shaping popular culture. Even though we have made a vast amount of progress in detection and diagnosis, racial disparities persist. Black, Latinx and members of other racially minoritized communities continue to experience bias in diagnosis and treatment for spectrum disorders.

Living and Learning on the Spectrum: A Conversation on the Evolution of Autism and Neurodiverse Advocacy

Join us for a Heritage Months initiative in partnership with C+V

Being on the Autism spectrum has meant different things for those who live and thrive with this identity. The language and worldviews surrounding those who are Neurodiverse has evolved from one of marginalization, to tolerance, to acceptance. But can we take the next vital steps to move from acceptance to celebration? In this conversation, we begin with understanding and move to our personal and institutional responsibility toward creating an inclusive living and learning environment at the University of Denver and beyond.

Thursday, April 29, 2021 | 11:00am-12:00pm

Register Here

Visit the Heritage Months Website

The University of Denver is committed to living our values of diversity and inclusion. Our community and institutional success is dependent on how well we engage and embrace the rich diversity of our faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni.

With that shared value in mind and in partnership with Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC), the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), The Cultural Center, and the Staff of Color Association (SOCA), we will celebrate the identities and histories of members of the DU and world communities. Each month we will feature a staff or faculty member and a student in recognition of each heritage month, along with an event to honor one another and learn about our unique differences.

Learn More

Propose a Program or Highlight a DU Community Member for Heritage Months

The University of Denver is committed to living our values of diversity and inclusion. We recognize that our community and institutional success is dependent on how well we engage and embrace the rich diversity of our faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni. With that shared value in mind, throughout this academic year, we plan to publish a series of articles to celebrate cultural and ethnic heritage months. In partnership with Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC), the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), The Cultural Center, Community + Values (C+V), and the Staff of Color Association (SOCA), we will feature a staff or faculty member and a student in recognition of each heritage month, along with an event to honor one another and learn about our unique differences.

Also, if you are aware of any events that are happening on campus or have an idea for Heritage Month events, we'd love to hear about them and promote them campus-wide.

Share Your Perspective