April is Autism Acceptance Month and the Northeast Arc is partnering with the Salem News and the Gloucester Daily Times to recognize people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with an essay contest.
Newly released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate about 1 in 36 children in the United States had been diagnosed with autism in 2020. That’s up from a prevalence of 1 in 44 children in 2018 and 1 in 150 children in 2000. As children grow, they become adults with ASD, and many have full, happy lives which include working in competitive jobs.
In April 1991, Northeast Arc opened the first of its kind Autism Support Center in Danvers. The Center empowers families who have a member with autism or a related disorder by providing current, accurate, and unbiased information about autism, services, referrals, resources, and research trends. Throughout its more than 30 years, the Autism Support Center has kept families across Northeastern Massachusetts supported and informed.
“Since Northeast Arc has been so successful in helping people with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities obtain competitive employment through our supported employment program, we want this essay to reflect this effort,” said Gloria Ricardi Castillo, Director, Family Support Centers at Northeast Arc.
The organization is asking for community members to write a short essay (250 words or less) on their experiences related to Autism Spectrum Disorder in the workplace. This could be from the perspective of someone with ASD regarding their feelings about their job, a family member who can discuss the affect having a job has had on their relative with ASD, or an employer or co-worker who has someone with ASD working at their company.
A team at the Autism Support Center will choose the winners who will receive cash prizes: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. The winning essay will be published in the Salem News and the Gloucester Daily Times.
Essays must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries must include the author’s name, address, and contact phone number. The deadline to submit is Friday, April 28, 2023. Call Gloria Ricardi Castillo at 978-924-5834 with questions