Educating others about autism

Ask The Experts by April Ceno and Frank Pinkham

Q: My child is diagnosed with autism. It’s challenging to take him out in public as often-times people will stare or say rude things. How can I help educate people about autism?

A: Unfortunately, this is a common question from parents, and this sort of stigma may even make it difficult to go out in public with your child for fear of judgment by others. These social stigmas often lead parents become discouraged which can lead them to staying home instead of going out. The best way to combat stigma is with knowledge.

In order to begin educating others, it is important that you as a parent are educated about autism. There are several ways you can do this; spending some time with google looking up facts about autism, attend or review online webinars about autism, even going to your local library to find books on the diagnosis would be helpful. One of the best ways to educate yourself is to attend trainings where you can connect to other parents and community members.

Secondly, be sure that your family and friends are educated about autism. They can be a huge asset that you have in educating the community. You can educate them by talking to them about what autism is and what autism is not. Invite them to use the resources you found most helpful when you were learning about autism.

In the end, the best way that you as a parent can educate the community about autism is to talk about autism. In order to debunk the myths and reduce stigma you have to keep the conversation going. When you’re out with your child and you see people staring or saying something rude turn the conversation around and use it as a teaching moment.


April Ceno, LMSW is the Program Manager of Autism Services at Training and Treatment Innovations, Inc. She oversees autism services for the agency and is over both the Oakland County and Macomb County Applied Behavior Analysis programs. In addition to that role she is also a behavior analyst treating individuals with autism. She develops treatment plans to reduce maladaptive behavior(s) as well as provide training, education and supervision for parents and behavior technicians. April works for the Autism Benefit Waiver program conducting comprehensive assessments of children diagnosed with autism; specifically the assessment of basic learning skills (ABLLS and VB-MAPP.) Ceno can be reached at or 586-939-4374. Training and Treatments Innovations, Inc. is a member of The Family Center’s Association of Professionals.

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An Overview: Autism Spectrum Disorders

April 25, 2018
Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms FREE

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