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Access:Ability April 2024 Newsletter

The April 2024 edition of the Ability Central monthly e-newsletter, Access:Ability.

2024 Grantee Gathering

Alyah Thomas, a biracial woman with long dark hair and a red turtleneck, presents to a seated crowd of Ability Central grantees in a modern event space

Celebrating Success at Ability Central’s 2024 Grantee Gathering

On Tuesday, March 26th, representatives from Ability Central’s 2023 and 2024 grantees gathered in Oakland to share success stories, key learnings, and plans for the future. 

This year’s grantee gathering was a time for celebration, connection, and collaboration. Representatives from 20+ organizations joined Ability Central board members, staff, and advisory group members to look back on 2023 and set goals for 2024. For a full list of attendees, check out our recap of the event

“I came here as a professional, to listen and learn about how the projects we funded have gone, and I’ve been inspired and excited,” said Matt Cherry, director of philanthropy, during his closing remarks. “But I’m also a parent of twin daughters with autism and communication disabilities, and from that perspective, I was, frankly, emotional today. It feels good to hear about so many projects that relate to my personal life, that relate to my family. It resonates.”

He added, “It’s just wonderful to have the privilege of working here and the privilege to hear about all these plans and progress. Thank you all.”

For more highlights from the grantee gathering, see our recap of the event.

To learn more about our grantees and the work they’ve been doing over the past year, check out our 2023 Impact Report, including updates from all Ability Central programs. 

Autism Awareness Month

Two white women, one wearing a blue sweater and blue knit scarf and the other wearing a red turtleneck, sit at a table in a community center working on art projects together

April is Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month! 

Adopted by the United Nations in 2007, Autism Awareness & Acceptance Day (April 2nd) raises awareness about autism and promotes acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The observance grew to include Autism Awareness & Acceptance Week (April 2nd-8th), and the entire month of April. 

We choose to focus on “acceptance” rather than “awareness” because acceptance is what we need to push change forward. Throughout April, organizations like Ability Central share information about ASD and work to break the stigma surrounding autism. We celebrate people on the spectrum with the ultimate goal of creating greater understanding, support, and acceptance.

This Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month, we encourage you to not only educate yourself about autism spectrum disorders, but to engage with your community to offer support and acceptance for people with autism. The resources below are a great place to start! 

Resource Round-up

Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Resources From Ability Central

Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. It’s characterized by tremors, stiffness, impaired balance, and trouble with dexterity. As time goes on, Parkinson’s can also lead to mental health symptoms like depression, cognitive changes, and difficulty sleeping.

Take a look at these resources on the Ability Central Portal to learn more about Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Disease Fact Sheet: Symptoms, Stages, and Statistics

A elderly white man in a white plaid shirt seated at a dining table holds his wrist to stabilize his hand as he lifts a spoonful of soup to his mouth

Ability Central answers the most common questions about Parkinson’s disease, including initial symptoms, known causes, stages, and frequency.

Read more on the Ability Central Portal.

What You Need to Know About Your Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis

A Latina woman in a white cardigan and a white medical mask holds hands with an older Latina woman with curly hair and a bright yellow sweater as they slowly climb the stairs together in a nicely decorated house.

Understand the first steps after receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, including what to expect and how to tell family members.

Read more on the Ability Central Portal.

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