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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Amid higher autism rates, calls grow for community acceptance

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Wednesday, April 3, 2024   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported one in 36 children around the U.S. has autism spectrum disorder. Rates are much higher than a decade ago and support organizations hope Wisconsin communities do more to make individuals feel welcome, including adults on the spectrum.

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Not only do advocates want to empower those with a diagnosis to live their fullest possible lives but they also ask those around them to learn more about it.

Katie Hess, executive director of the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin, said there are some key practices to keep in mind.

"Really, what we're looking for is for people just to be open-minded and patient, and understanding," Hess explained.

Acceptance does not happen only at home or school. Workplaces also are encouraged to foster more inclusiveness, with nearly 60% of people with autism now employed after receiving vocational services. Their advocates said they have many strengths and asking them about their needs creates a better environment for them.

Symptoms of autism can vary widely for each person on the spectrum, including how they interact with others. Hess noted whether individuals are considered "high need" or "low need," having the public pay more attention to the evolution of this disorder is vital.

"We're learning new information all the time, so certainly reach out to your local chapter, your Autism Society," Hess urged. "Ask questions."

Her chapter will soon begin offering a training program to organizations about how to become more autism friendly, including being able to identify a person on the autism spectrum and how to best offer ways to help if they disclose their diagnosis.


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