The way society understands autistic people is changing.

According to new research, not only have perceptions of autism changed — millennials are helping to normalize it.

Hasan Zafer Elcik, CEO and co-founder of Otsimo, an app that helps autistic children develop social and cognitive skills, is thrilled about the shift. When his younger brother was diagnosed, Elcik quickly realized there was no adequate access to treatment, therapy, or other resources for his growth and development, which led Elcik to explore how society understands autism and what influences that understanding.

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Shkoryah Carthen has spent half of her life working in the service industry. While the 32-year old restaurant worker quickly sensed that Covid-19 would bring real change to her daily life, Carthen hardly knew just how strongly it would impact her livelihood.

"The biggest challenge for me during this time, honestly is just to stay afloat," Carthen said.

Upon learning the Dallas restaurant she worked for would close indefinitely, Carthen feared its doors may never reopen.

Soon after, Carthen learned that The Wilkinson Center was desperately looking for workers to create and distribute meals for those in need in their community. The next day, Carthen was at the food pantry restocking shelves and creating relief boxes filled with essentials like canned foods, baby formula and cleaning products. In addition to feeding families throughout the area, this work ensured Carthen the opportunity to provide food for her own.

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