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Autism Acceptance Month: Celebrating Our Differences

We’re bombarded throughout life with messages both implicit and explicit telling us what it is to be ordinary and what is required of us to fit in with the crowd. We’re told what it means to think ordinary, look ordinary, dress ordinary and act ordinary.

The problem about ordinary is that it’s just so … ordinary.

Ordinary is pedestrian. It’s mundane and routine. In a word, ordinary is boring. It’s boring because it lacks excitement, distinctiveness and the individualism that makes something special enough to stand out to be noticed and appreciated. The truth is, it’s those sometimes subtle and sometimes overt differences between us that make us unique and interesting. Ordinary will always fall short because it’s not extraordinary.

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and the Autism Society of America is commemorating the designation with its Celebrate Differences campaign. The campaign is designed to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms and realities of autism, but it is also focused on providing information and resources on how to become more accepting and inclusive of the autism community in everyday life.

Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to a 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, roughly 1 in 54 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder, and it is four times more common to be diagnosed in boys than girls. 

Society’s attitudes toward those on the autism spectrum has drastically shifted in recent decades as awareness has increased about the disorder and new therapies have been created to treat the diagnosis, such as the Autism Recovery Through Synergy (ARTS) program implemented by Dr. Tami Peterson, founder and CEO of the Oxford Recovery Center in Brighton, Michigan. The ARTS program teaches autistic children the behavioral skills that will help them become more successful in their homes, school and communities.

Raised awareness has created a bridge of understanding and the ability to see beyond the dry and clinical stigma of diagnosis to the flesh-and-bone, feeling-and-thinking people behind it — and, more importantly, an understanding of how the members of the autism community are able to play a valued role in the fabric of our society.

That bridge of understanding connects awareness with acceptance. Yet while attitudes have shifted, there are still more steps to take on the journey. It’s part of the reason why more autism advocacy groups are changing April’s designation from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month.

“While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life,” Christopher Banks, president and CEO of the Autism Society of America, said in a news release. “As many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.”

At SaveOn, much of our focus is turning the ordinary into the extraordinary for our customers. However, we encourage you to take time this month to recognize the extraordinary all around us every day and help accept and celebrate and our differences by taking part in Autism Acceptance Month. To find more about how you can help, visit the websites of Autism Society of America or Autism Speaks.

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American Heart Association: Saving Lives Through Prevention

Connecting people with savings and great, local businesses is our top objective here at SaveOn.

However, there is another organization whose goal of saving has been its mission for nearly a century.

February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association has saved the lives of our friends, and families and communities by raising awareness and promoting prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke since the organization started in 1924.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide and stroke ranks second globally. Through the years, the American Heart Association has invested more than $4.5 billion in research into preventing the issues, and this month marks the biggest push to raise awareness. Yet, the depth of the work of the nonprofit likely remains unknown by many people.

In addition to bringing attention to the risks of heart attack and stroke, the organization also places a massive educational focus on healthy living — from dangers about high cholesterol and hypertension to the importance of physical activity.

Throughout American Heart Month, the American Heart Association’s “Heart to Heart: Why Losing One Woman Is Too Many” campaign will raise awareness about how 1 in 3 women are diagnosed with heart disease annually.

This year, the federally designated observance in February is even more important because of the impact of the coronavirus on the public’s heart health, including the potential harmful effects the disease has on the heart and vascular system.

While in lockdown, more people have engaged in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors — such as eating poorly, drinking more alcohol and limiting physical activity — that can contribute to heart disease. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people also have delayed or avoided going to hospitals for heart attacks and strokes — netting poorer outcomes and prompting the organization to create “Don’t Die of Doubt,” a national awareness campaign that reminds people that hospitals are the safest place to go when you have symptoms.

During American Heart Month, the American Heart Association and other organizations reinforce the importance of heart health, the need for more research and efforts to ensure that millions of people live longer and healthier. In most cases, heart disease is preventable when people adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, and getting regular checkups.

We want you to take this month to think about your health and the measures you can take to improve your heart happiness. SaveOn is here to help you take those small but important steps forward for your health and well-being. The deals with our partner agencies can help you save when it comes to eating smarter when you’re dining out or taking advantage of new recreational activities in and around your hometown.

SaveOn’s savings can help you advance your physical health. Yet, the benefits of saving also are good for your financial health — shopping local rewards the health of your local community. Take time during American Heart Month to make the lifestyle adjustments that will help you in the long run — and invest in the health of your friends and neighbors by considering donating to the efforts of the American Heart Association at