Autism Acceptance Matters

Although commonly diagnosed as young as two years old, autism can be diagnosed at any age.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects individuals of all ages.

Approximately 1 in every 44 children is diagnosed with ASD and an estimated 2.21% of U.S. adults live with a diagnosis.

ASD can affect a person’s ability to interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave. Common behaviors observed include:

  • Difficulty communicating and interacting with others
  • Restrictive interests
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Symptoms that affect their ability to function in school, work, and other areas of life

“If I can snap my fingers and be non-autistic, I would not. Autism is a part of what I am.

Dr. Temple Grandin, Animal Behaviorist

The Spectrum

Autism falls under what is commonly known in the community as the spectrum. ASD encompasses a variety in the type, combination, and severity of disabilities.

Individuals on the spectrum also show many strengths including:

  • Being strong auditory and visual learners
  • Excelling in mathematics, science, music, or art
  • Ability to remember information for long periods of time

Testing for Autism

Diagnosis in Young Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for developmental delays at their 9, 18, and 24-month checkups.

Additional diagnostic evaluation may include:

  • Medical and neurological exams
  • Assessment of cognitive abilities
  • Assessment of speech and language abilities
  • Observation of behavior
  • Discussion with caregiver(s)
  • Assessment of age-appropriate skills
  • Review of family history

Diagnosis in Older Children and Adolescents

Caregivers and teachers are often the ones to notice symptoms in school-age children.

Healthcare providers will look at any social difficulties, including struggles with:

  • Communication
  • Figures of speech
  • Humor
  • Sarcasm

Diagnosis in Adults

It is difficult to diagnose ASD in adults, especially adult women. In many cases, symptoms of ASD may overlap with symptoms of other mental health disorders – most commonly ADHD.

Healthcare providers will ask about social interactions, communication challenges, sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests. Additionally, a conversation with caregivers and other family members can help the provider learn about the person’s early developmental history.

Obtaining an autism diagnosis as an adult can help individuals understand past challenges, identify personal strengths, and find the right help.

“Autism can’t define me. I define autism”

Kerry Magro, Author


National Resources

National resources and information about ASD.

Autism Acceptance (Webinar)

Stephen Shore, M.Ed. discusses the autism acceptance movement and how to reframe the term disability.

Autism in Adults (Podcast)

National Institute of Mental Health Director Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. interviews Ann Wagner, Ph.D., National Autism Coordinator, and Lisa Gilotty, Ph.D., program chief of NIMH’s Research Program on Autism Spectrum Disorders, to discuss advances in the study of autism in adulthood.

Autism NOW


Phone: 1-855-828-8476

The National Autism Resource and Information Center, provided by Autism NOW, is a dynamic and interactive, highly visible, and effective central point of quality resources and information for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities and their families.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities. We work to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. Nothing About Us, Without Us!

Center for Disease Control

ASD Screening Tools

Research has found that ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until they are much older. This delay means that children with ASD might not get the help they need. The earlier an ASD is diagnosed, the sooner treatment services can begin.

Key Findings: CDC Releases First Estimates of the Number of Adults Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among adults aged 18 years and older in the United States in 2017*. This study fills a gap in data on adults living with ASD in the United States because there is no existing surveillance system to collect this information.

National Institute for Mental Health

Resources, brochures, and information regarding ASD are provided by the National Institute for Mental Health.

Organization for Autism Research (OAR)


Phone: 866-366-9710

OAR was founded in December 2001 by seven individuals whose lives and families had been directly impacted by autism. They shared a common vision and set out on a singular mission – to apply science to answer the daily questions and challenges that autism presents to autistic individuals, their families, teachers, and caregivers.

There are many organizations dedicated to autism. What distinguishes OAR is our singular focus on applied research and the quality and practical value of our resource materials. The studies we fund and the information resources we provide have meaning in the day-to-day lives of autistic people and those who support them personally and professionally.

State Resources

ASD resources are available in the state of Pennsylvania.

Autism Society Lehigh Valley Affiliate (ASA-LV)


Phone: 877-231-4244

ASA-LV is a volunteer parent organization dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and their families who live in the Lehigh Valley.  Additional groups include:

  • Children’s online group
  • Corazones Unidos para el Autismo (Spanish-speaking parent support group)
  • Creative Abilities Group (fine arts, crafts, wellness)
  • Teen Group
  • Young adult group
  • Pre-school parent support group
  • Parent support group for parents of adults with autism
Resources from the State of Pennsylvania

Phone: 1-866-539-7689

The information shared in this site is intended to communicate the Department of Human Services’ efforts to enhance the quality of life and independence of Pennsylvanians with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and to support their families and caregivers

Via of the Lehigh Valley

Contact: Julianna Dueh, Autism Services Coordinator


Phone: 610-317-8000 ext. 483

Via provides adults with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis (ASD) with the resources to connect with each other and community resources to explore their talents and potential. Vocational, educational, and recreational activities are provided.

Via of the Lehigh Valley is an Autism Waiver provider through the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs’ Bureau of Autism Services.

PCL Resources

ASD resources are available at your Parkland Community Library.

Browse the Catalog


Phone: 610-398-1361 ext. 106

Browse our catalog for autism resources and stories with autistic characters.

Even More Resources with Hoopla

Hoopla is available for Parkland School District and Northwestern residents only.

Access eBooks, audiobooks, comics, movies, and TV shows instantly with your library card and the Hoopla app. Available to download on most devices.

Try Hoopla Flex and Hoopla Instant!

Try Our eResources

Access our collection of eResources with your Parkland Community Library Card!

Where to start:

Our Book Suggestions

Selected stories featuring characters on the autism spectrum.

All My Stripes by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer

Zane rushes home to tell his mother about problems he faced during his school day, and she reminds him that while others may only see his “autism stripe,” he has stripes for honesty, caring, and much more. 

Posted by John David Anderson

In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes — though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

We are Okay by Nina LeCour

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun.

Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Annika Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game—and his heart—to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

PCL has audiobooks, eBooks, and more!

Browse our booklist for readers of all ages or get started with our eBook collection!

This post is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services.