2024 Michigan Shines for Autism Gala

This year, the Center for Disease Control updated the autism prevalence statistic from 1 in 44 to 1 in 36. The nature of autism is ubiquitous. You likely cross paths with an autistic person every single day, often without even realizing it. Autism influences every facet of life- your neighborhood, your children's school, your workplace and so much more.

As we raise awareness and acceptance of those living with autism, we need to recognize it is a true "spectrum" disorder, which ranges from those who are profoundly affected and require the highest level of care to those who are able to advocate for themselves and live independently.

One thing we know for sure: Where there are people, there is autism; and where there is autism, there is Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAoM). Since our founding in 2009, AAoM has worked tirelessly to shed light on the challenges of living with autism while building bridges to critical resources and supports that have the ability to change the trajectory of someone's life. 

Here are a few examples of the diverse cases AAoM is currently working on:

  • A parent struggling to understand why her child doesn't speak, laugh or seek engagement like her other children, yet can't act on these concerns without access to effective health and developmental screenings. Delayed diagnosis, delayed intervention, and ultimately, worse outcomes for school, work, and independent living
  • A job applicant, denied the opportunity to secure a highly desirable position because the employer lacks ADA compliant hiring and recruiting processes. Critical accommodations denied to a fully qualified candidate whose now left to bag groceries or fill the shelves of a local grocery store
  • A family struggling to manage their son's severe and destructive behaviors which have become too dangerous to stay in the home. Their days are spent in and out of the hospital desperately seeking resources and residential options for a better quality of life for the entire family.

Our goal is to shine a light on every aspect of the spectrum, to make Michigan a place where children and adults living with autism feel understood, valued, and accepted. This year, we will elevate the challenges experienced by those with the most profound needs, bridging one segment of the population to another to unify our community around the greatest struggles to the greatest rewards. 

Our communities are filled with children, siblings, parents and friends with autism who have significant contributions to make and dreams to achieve. And though those dreams and contributions may vary across the spectrum- they stand equally at the forefront of our mission. We are committed to creating a world where there is equity, inclusivity, and accessibility for all autistic persons. 

Join Autism Alliance of Michigan as we work to build bridges that navigate all families out of crisis, isolation and fear and into a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.