With funding to expand the organization’s Vaccine Education Initiative (VEI), the Autism Society of America has added capacity to support more equitable services, addressing key determinants of health.

Rockville, MD – The Autism Society of America secured a mission-critical grant from the Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative (ADVC) to expand its Vaccine Education Initiative (VEI) – one of the many programs the organization promotes for the overall health and well-being for individuals with Autism. 

Healthcare inequities are seen across disability communities, including Autism, and are exaggerated by social and economic factors. These inequities can result in differences in length and quality of life, disease rates, access to treatment, disability, and death. Recent data shows that people with Autism have barriers to accessible healthcare, an increased risk for comorbidities, and have more anxiety and depression than people without disabilities. 

“Health Equity is the foundation for a healthy life,” said Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. “It addresses the range of life-sustaining issues that are the social determinants of health, and are often lacking or inaccessible for Autistic Americans and other underserved or marginalized groups.”

Vaccine hesitancy has long been an issue within the Autism community, and has been perpetuated by unsupportive provider settings, unprepared healthcare providers, and trauma-based experiences. With training for healthcare professionals and systemic changes, providers can use evidence-based methods to better support the Autism community. 

The new grant from the Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative – an initiative funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living to provide outreach, technical assistance, and support to promote vaccination uptake – will help the Autism Society substantially expand the VEI. This ensures more people will receive factual, unbiased information about vaccines, safety, and public health, as well as expanded access to supported vaccine clinics and trained healthcare providers.

“The Autism Society has been pioneering strategies to help families and individuals with Autism get vaccinated since it can be especially stressful and upsetting for people with Autism,” said Dr. Kelly Moore, President and CEO of Immunize.org. “They have some simple, low-cost ideas like putting on headphones, listening to your favorite music, or using a “shot blocker” to make the shot hurt less.”

Other areas of health equity in which the Autism Society is working include employment, mental health, suicide prevention, and home and community-based services. During Autism Acceptance Month, the organization will be highlighting its work and impact to ensure accessible experiences in healthcare and other social determinants of health.

About the Autism Society of America:

The Autism Society’s mission is to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully. As the nation’s oldest leading grassroots Autism organization, the Autism Society and its approximately 70+ local affiliates serve over half a million members of the Autism community each year. It envisions a world where everyone in the Autism community is connected to the support they need, when they need it – including education, advocacy efforts, and supports and services throughout the lifespan. During Autism Acceptance Month, the Autism Society has a goal to fundraise $350,000 to expand acceptance in practice for the Autism community. For more information, go to www.autismsociety.orgFacebookInstagram or Twitter