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WHEREAS, this month, and every month, we celebrate the numerous ways individuals with autism enrich our world; and
WHEREAS, in the United States, 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, totaling over five million young people and adults; and
WHEREAS, these individuals are our classmates, colleagues, friends, and loved ones, and greatly contribute their strengths, talents, and abilities to their community; and
WHEREAS, autism awareness provides education, understanding, and acceptance, all of which are needed to promote inclusion full participation within society; and
WHEREAS, now, more than ever, we know that the choice of our words matters and that unity and acceptance are foundational values to move our world forward; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia is committed to ensuring that people living with autism have access to the care and services they need to achieve their goals and live a happy, full life; and
WHEREAS, we also honor self-advocates, family members, caregivers, professionals, and all who work every day to create more opportunities to those with autism; and
WHEREAS, my administration and I will continue to work with our national disability organizations and the autism community to acknowledge the need to advance our language;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 2021 as AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.