Following is a statement by Assistant Secretary Alexa Posny, who heads the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, regarding the fourth annual World Autism Awareness Day designated by the United Nations as Saturday, April 2.
Awareness of people with autism and their abilities and desires to lead rich, active, connected lives rises by the day. The U.S. Department of Education is committed to education, employment and equality for all individuals, including those on the autism spectrum. More than 300,000 children with autism receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Another 6,435 individuals with autism participate in vocational rehabilitation programs. Through our grants, we fund research, technical assistance, and family and personnel support to benefit those with autism and their families.
We must continue to focus on the unique needs of children with autism and their families. World Autism Awareness Day helps us to do just that -- to celebrate our differences and advocate diversity. April is also designated National Autism Awareness Month. During this month, let us celebrate the unique talents and skills of persons with autism, and rededicate ourselves to raising autism awareness and encouraging our colleagues, friends, and family to do the same.