April is Autism Acceptance Month - The Children's Guild

Autism Acceptance Month

This April, The Children’s Guild is proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month by highlighting trailblazing Autistics past and present. We believe these accomplished individuals inspire all of us to ignite change in the world by celebrating differences.

The Children’s Guild’s mission—to provide individualized transformational experiences to ensure children, families, and communities thrive—is demonstrated in particular this month by our newest school, Transformation Academy.

The Children’s Guild – Transformation Academy is a 12-month, non-public separate day school for students ages 5-21, whose primary diagnosis is autism, but who may also have co-existing diagnoses of sensory processing disorder, a specific learning disability, health impairment, or multiple disabilities.

Transformation Academy’s integrated approach to education provides individualized instruction in the areas of academics, behavior, social skills, and life skills to meet the needs of neurodiverse individuals.

See what we’re also doing in Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

Autism acceptance: Elle McNicoll

Elle McNicoll is a neurodivergent writer and children’s author who is an advocate for disability rights and better representation in publishing. Growing up, she never saw disabled characters in books portrayed as fun and full of life. When Elle was first trying to enter the publishing world, she was repeatedly told that people did not want to read about an autistic heroine.

Elle changed this narrative with her award-winning debut novel, A Kind of Spark. Waterstones’ booksellers have praised the novel as “eye opening and heart-wrenching.” It has won the Blue Peter prize for best story and was named Blackwell’s Book of 2020. The book has also been adapted for television and is now available in the UK on BBC as well as in the US on BYUtv. Her second novel, Show Us Who You Are, was Blackwell’s Book of the Month and one of The Bookseller’s Best Books of 2021. She describes it as her love letter to neurodivergent friendships.

Browse all books by Elle here: https://ellemcnicoll.com/books

FOLLOW US and #STAYTUNED all month to see who’s next, #autismacceptance #neurodiversity #autsimawarenessmonth

Autism acceptance: Lauren-Rochelle Fernandez

Lauren-Rochelle Fernandez advocates as an ambassador for Neurodiversity. After being diagnosed with autism and ADHD late in life, she struggled to find the help and resources needed for a black autistic woman. After her experience as an inpatient, it became clear to her that mental health support services were necessary in order to help those on the Autism spectrum in marginalized communities.

In 2018, Lauren founded Mask Off C.I.C, an organization that highlights “the ‘invisible’ Black female perspective” around ADHD, autism and mental health. The campaign name relates to the psychological process of ‘masking’ experienced by many neurodivergent people, in which they suppress behavior considered socially abnormal so as to fit into the standards of culture and society. In early 2023, she was recognized as one of the 30 people with Autism you want to know by the Art of Autism.

Learn more about the services Lauren’s organization offers here: https://maskoffcic.com/services

FOLLOW US and #STAYTUNED all month to see who’s next, #autismacceptance #neurodiversity #autsimawarenessmonth

Autism acceptance: Temple Grandin

Dr. Grandin did not talk until she was three and a half years old. Her parents made sure to get her early speech therapy. Her teachers also taught her how to wait and take turns when playing board games. She was mainstreamed into a typical kindergarten at age five.

Dr. Grandin became a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and a BBC Special – “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow”. She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk. Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

See her TED Talk Here, “The World needs all types of Minds”: https://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world_needs_all_kinds_of_minds?language=en

FOLLOW US and #STAYTUNED all month to see who’s next, #autismacceptance #neurodiversity #autsimawarenessmonth

Autism acceptance: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely known to be one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time. Einstein is best known for developing the theory of relativity but also made impactful contributions to the development of the theory of quantum mechanics.

It is widely speculated if Einstein had Autism or Aspergers because of how brilliant and eccentric he was. When he was born, the back of his head was abnormally large. His grandmother thought he was just fat, but his parents were worried it was a sign of a major problem. When he grew older, he wouldn’t speak, not one word. As other children his age learned words and could assemble them into sentences, he remained mute.

Feel free to reach out to us anytime with support questions on what’s next if your child is diagnosed with Autism or any neurodiverse issue: https://childrensguild.org/ or call us at 410.444.3800.

FOLLOW US and #STAYTUNED all month to see who’s next, #autismacceptance #neurodiversity #autsimawarenessmonth

Autism acceptance: Armani Williams

Armani Williams is an American professional stock car racing driver who last competed part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 43 Toyota Tundra/Chevrolet Silverado for Reaume Brothers Racing and the No. 20 Chevrolet Silverado for Young’s Motorsports. He has also competed in the ARCA Menards Series as well as what are now the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West in the past.

Williams is the first NASCAR driver openly diagnosed on the autism spectrum. He was diagnosed at two years old, and his speech was very delayed. Since then Williams sports blue paint schemes with the blue autism puzzle pieces to symbolize his diagnosis on the spectrum and to raise awareness. He is also one of five African-American drivers currently competing in NASCAR, along with Cup Series drivers Bubba Wallace, Jesse Iwuji, Rajah Carruth, and Blake Lothian.

FOLLOW US and #STAYTUNED all month to see who’s next, #autismacceptance #neurodiversity #autsimawarenessmonth

Autism acceptance: Dan Akroyd

Daniel Aykroyd is a Canadian actor, comedian, writer, producer, and musician. Aykroyd was a young boy when he was diagnosed with Tourette’s and Asperger’s. Today both are controllable and manageable and help him channel his creativity. He attributes his success as an actor in Hollywood to his condition, saying, “as a kid, making faces in the mirror, may have directly fed my imagination”. The Children’s Guild is a place where we spark the imagination of our students every day, helping them accept their differences, guiding them to see how great their futures will be. Dan Aykroyd is an amazing example of how challenges can turn into your life’s purpose.

Watch this video of Dan Aykrod speaking about his accomplishments as someone with mental health challenges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XftZWhTnveo&t=13s


FOLLOW US and #STAYTUNED all month to see who’s next, #autismacceptance #neurodiversity #autsimawarenessmonth

Autism acceptance: Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, born January 3, 2003, is a Swedish environmental activist who has made headlines for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation. Greta is known for being a part of the Autistic community alongside her other accomplishments. She has been diagnosed with Autism/Asperger’s syndrome and selective mutism. Greta has spoken about her diagnosis saying she considers it a “superpower”.

Thunberg’s activism began when she persuaded her parents to adopt lifestyle choices that reduced their own carbon footprint. In August 2018, at age 15, she started spending her Fridays outside the Swedish Parliament to call for stronger action on climate change by holding up a sign reading “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School Strike for Climate). Thunberg initially gained notice for her youth and her straightforward and blunt speaking manner, in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she criticizes world leaders for their failure to take what she considers sufficient action to address the climate crisis.

FOLLOW US and #STAYTUNED all month to see who’s next, #autismacceptance #neurodiversity #autsimawarenessmonth