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ABA Therapy

Applied ABC’s 2023 Autism Awareness Month Celebration

What is Autism Awareness Month?

Autism Awareness Day is April 2, and has been officially recognized by the United Nations since 2007, making this year the 16th annual celebration. While Autism Awareness Day is celebrated throughout the world, some countries, like the United Kingdom, celebrate it for a week, while the United States does so for the whole month of April.

For the entire month, we have been using our Facebook and Instagram accounts to celebrate the different aspects that make up the autism spectrum. From highlighting businesses supporting others on the autism spectrum, revealing our incredible Stories of Hope, shining light on early signs of autism, and our Field Day at the Fisher Cats stadium in New Hampshire full of games and activities.

Our celebrations weren’t only to spread awareness of what autism is but spreading acceptance, love, and support for those on the spectrum.

Week 1: Stories of Hope

The Stories of Hope are Applied ABC’s unique twist on a “testimonial.” Instead of using cold, clinical language detailing a child’s progression through their therapy, we wanted to create something much more unique and special to each individual child’s progress.

So, we created story-book retellings of success stories of our very own children we care for. Each child and therapist are recreated in the wonderfully whimsical illustrations created by Annabelle Meszynski, and their story unfolds as told by the families and therapists.

A big win for many children with autism might not be something as huge as learning to speak or riding a bike. It’s smaller steps that lead to bigger ones, and our Stories of Hope shine a light on the journey kids with autism are on every day while receiving ABA therapy.

In our first edition of the Stories of Hope, we recount Naomi’s journey from when she was first unable to communicate or make eye contact to happily wearing her graduation cap during her graduation ceremony.

The second edition of Stories of Hope follows Danny’s ABA adventure. It starts by highlighting Danny’s communication troubles and fear of dogs. Through ABA therapy, he discovered a passion for storytelling and an understanding that many dogs are loving and caring companions.

While the names are changed – each child’s story is as unique as they are and tells of ABA’s successes better than any dry testimonial could do.

Week 2: Supporting the Spectrum Business Spotlights.

Taking the energy from our Stories of Hope reveal, we fly into our second week of celebrations by highlighting incredible businesses that are either majority owned or operated by amazing and empowered individuals with autism.

Sadly, government-funded programs cease for young adults with autism by the age of 21, leaving them to fend for themselves. The unemployment rates in the autism community are estimated to be as high as 80%, with more than 50% of 25 years old unable to hold a job.

This is exactly what makes these businesses so special!

Supporting the Spectrum Business Spotlight: Spectrum Designs

Spectrum Designs is a custom screen printing and promotional products business with a social mission – to create meaningful and inclusive employment and training for people in a neurodiverse world.

Spectrum designs aims to provide these young adults with the opportunities and means to live independently. More than half of the company’s workforce is on the spectrum, and all profits are used in expanding and hiring more young adults on the spectrum.

Supporting the Spectrum Business Spotlight: SMILE Biscotti

SMILE Biscotti was founded in 2013 by Matt Resnik and his parents, Rob and Denise. SMILE, which is an acronym for “Supporting My Independent Living Enterprise,” is the whole purpose of the business – baking delicious biscotti and creating a space for a workforce of neurodiverse adults.

Matt was two years old when he was diagnosed with autism, and while limited in his verbal and social skills, he always had a love for baking. Matt’s parents focused on their son’s strengths growing up and helped him develop the business’s model. Matt applied for and was awarded the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center’s (SARRC) Rising Entrepreneurs grant and started SMILE right after graduating high school.

Supporting the Spectrum Business Spotlight: Popcorn for the People 

This business was founded in 2015 by Samuel Bier and his parents, Dr. Barbie Zimmerman-Bier and Dr. Steven Bier as a nonprofit subsidiary of the family’s charitable organization: Let’s Work for Good.

 Popcorn for the People is owned and operated by Sam and other people with autism who create unique and delicious popcorn flavors and opportunities for other young adults on the spectrum.

And being a non-profit, all proceeds go towards aiding the autism community find careers and start businesses.

Supporting the Spectrum Business Spotlight: ScentsAbility Candles 

ScentsAbility Candles was founded in 2009 by Bonnie Schmidt and Denise Anderson with the goal of giving young adults with learning disabilities the resources for sustainable income, a sense of independence, and basic life skills training.

ScentsAbility was inspired by Schmidt’s own daughter, Jessica, as well as Anderson’s daughter, Lexi, who both have diagnosed learning disabilities and are one of many artisans crafting beautifully scented candles.

Supporting the Spectrum Business Spotlight: Rising Tide Car Wash 

Celebrating eleven years in operation, Rising Tide Car Wash was founded by father and son, John and Tom D’Eri, to develop a scalable solution to employ individuals with autism. The driving force was John’s younger son, Andrew, who struggled to find his place in the world after aging out of school programs for people with autism.

Rising Tide has become one of the largest employers of people with autism in the U.S., providing meaningful work to over 170 individuals with autism to date, with over 75% of the workforce alumni moving onto new jobs or higher education.

Rising Tide has had so much success with its innovative and supportive business model that Tom D’Eri wrote “The Power of Potential” to encourage other entrepreneurs and business leaders to create a more inclusive work environment and be at the forefront of neurodiverse workforces.

Signs of Autism Infographic

For the final two weeks of April, we created a beautiful infographic that shows common, early signs that could lead to an autism diagnosis. This includes everything from lack of eye contact to the need for routine.

The infographics include detailed information on each sign and what they could look like and mean for your child. While one or two of these signs is not case enough to be worried about autism, in combination, several of these could be an early warning sign of ASD.

Each piece of the infographic adds together to show a bigger image, which can be seen on our Instagram as a whole. Please contact your child’s healthcare professional if you do have concerns about autism.

Field Day at the Fisher Cats Stadium

On Saturday, April 22, we rented the entire Delta Dental stadium, where the NH Fisher Cats play baseball, for an afternoon of free games and activities for the community. The event was open to the public and was meant to be an inclusive day spreading awareness and appreciation for our amazing children.

We set up multiple booths with different activities throughout the outfield with each activity focused on building specific motor and social skills. From our Soccer Shoot Out game to a Create-Your-Own-Sensory-Bottle crafting station, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Applied ABC Field Day at the NH Fisher Cats

To do something special to finish off Autism Awareness Month, Applied ABC partnered with the NH Fisher Cats for an educational field day at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 22, 2023.

Many children with autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders and their parents went from station to station, participating in games and activities chosen by autism therapists to work on specific skills like listening, following directions, and playing with others.

We also had fun activities like face painting and a sensory area where children with autism could go if they needed a moment to unwind.

To close out the event, everyone joined us at center field to launch thousands of bubbles into the air.

Below is a list of the exciting games and activities that attendees participated in at the event and why they were considered ABA therapy.

Tact-Tastic Animals – Similar to I-Spy, children took turns naming, pointing out, and counting different animals they saw in pictures.

How It Was ABA – This game promoted turn-taking, listening, social skills, and tacting different items

Simon Says – A leader, called Simon, instructed players to repeat their actions by saying “Simon says.”

How It Was ABA – This game helped children with ASD practice observational learning, observational skills, following directions, and listening.

Soccer Shoot-Out – Players lined up and waited on place markers. When it was their turn, they would try to kick a ball into a soccer net.

How It Was ABA – This game helped children with autism work on turn-taking, peer interactions, following directions, and playing with others.

Create Your Own Slime – This crafting station had children follow multi-step instructions to create their own slime.

How It Was ABA – Children that created their own slime practiced following multi-step directions, tacting objects, responding to directions, and playing with a group.

Buried Treasure Hunt – Players used toy shovels to excavate dinosaurs and buried treasures in a sandbox.

How It Was ABA – Children with ASD who played the buried treasure hunt game practiced turn-taking, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and group play.


Sensory Bottle Making – This station had children follow a set of directions to create their own sensory bottles.

How It Was ABA – Bottle makers worked on fine and gross motor skills, following multi-step instructions, manding, promoting sensory regulation, and group play.

Why Put on an Event Like This?

We wanted to put together an event that was not only going to be memorable for the kids but give them a chance to practice ABA.  We also wanted to do our part in spreading awareness about autism by doing something big for the NH community, especially during Autism Awareness Month!

In Summary

As we close our Autism Awareness campaigns and clean up after our event with the Fisher Cats, we just wanted to thank all our families, providers, office staff, and of course, the amazing kids that inspired Applied ABC in the first place. We strive every day to be better for the people that make what we do a reality.

We have always been family first and treat every case individually with compassion and a drive to help change lives for the better. Thank you all and Happy Autism Awareness Month!

Other articles

ABA Therapy Basics

Examples Of ABA Therapy

How ABA Therapy Works At Applied ABC

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