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Valerie Breen Statement 04152024

Message from Executive Director Valerie Breen: Autism Acceptance Month

As we continue to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, I am reminded of the profound power of our collective voices to foster understanding and compassion for individuals with autism and their families. This month allows us to amplify our efforts to raise awareness and advocate for the issues that deeply impact the autism community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are an estimated 5,437,988 (2.21%) adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States; in Florida alone, the number is 329,131. Florida is among the states with the highest number of adults living with ASD. Despite these staggering figures, the Office for National Statistics reports that only 22% of autistic adults are employed, and many are underemployed. The work for change is far from over, and our collective efforts are needed now more than ever for millions of people.

The heart of our mission at the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council is the belief that every individual deserves to be seen, heard, and valued. Let us reaffirm our commitment to create a society where individuals with autism are embraced for their strengths and contributions.

Our video series “Our Care Matters” shines a spotlight on the experiences of Floridians living with developmental disabilities, including autism. Through authentic storytelling, we aim to inspire empathy and ignite conversations to drive meaningful change. I encourage you to watch and listen to these powerful stories and share them widely to amplify their impact.

I invite you also to participate in the Autism Society of America’s #CelebrateDifferences campaign to celebrate the talents and perspectives of individuals with autism by posting about Autism Acceptance Month and using their hashtag.

Together, let us raise our voices in solidarity with the autism community and advocate for a more supportive future. Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our shared mission.

Warm regards,

Valerie Breen
Executive Director
Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Inc.

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