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Celebrating Diversity and Contributions: Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month

Chris O’Connor, a member of the Town of Smithtown Disabilities Advisory Board and the Chief Operating Officer of Citizens Options Unlimited, was recently featured in a public service announcement from the Town of Smithtown and Smithtown Public Safety.

“In my career, I’ve been fortunate to support people with autism on their journey towards independence and empowerment,” O’Connor said during the public service announcement. “So much is about building meaningful connections and helping people understand that the spectrum is wide, and everyone has unique gifts to share. This understanding creates a strong call to action for inclusive environments and specialized services supporting everyone to thrive.”

The public service announcement encouraged officials and residents to make the most of Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month by celebrating neurodiversity and considering new ways to advance inclusion and belonging across the community.

O’Connor said there are multiple ways to support the community, including meeting people where they are, asking questions about how someone is feeling, seeing if they need a helping hand, giving a moment’s grace to a mother whose child is working through a challenging behavior in public, creating employment or internship opportunities, or even volunteering with organizations like Citizens Options Unlimited.

“Through collaboration, we can ensure the township is a place where people of all abilities are valued for who they are,” O’Connor said. “Together, let’s affirm our commitment to autism awareness and acceptance and work to ensure that every person is welcome to reach their full potential.”

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