World Autism Awareness Day
World Autism Awareness Day is observed April 2 of every year. This will be the ninth annual celebration and autism groups around the world will celebrate the day in many festive ways. Some groups will use the special day for fundraising. Others will offer conferences, seminars, and other ways to offer a better understanding of the disability. Carnivals, picnics, walks, and varied community activities will also take place around the world. Although April 2 is the
special day, April is Autism Awareness Month.
Acceptance and Appreciation
This year, the focus of National Autism Awareness Month is “acceptance and appreciation.” The goal is to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the thousands of people facing an autism diagnosis each year.
Before the 1990’s autism was not considered to be a spectrum disorder. This resulted in anyone with an autism diagnosis had fairly severe symptoms. Different theories, ranging from “Refrigerator Mothers,” to poor parenting skills, were considered the ’causes’ of the disability. As autism became more prevalent it started to develop specific characteristics for diagnosis. These include impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, repetitive behavior. Parents often noticed differences during the child’s first two years of life.
It is presently estimated that one percent of the world population suffers from autism spectrum disorder. In the United States it is estimated that autism strikes 1 in 68 births. The prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (one in 150) to one in 68 in 2010.
On April 2 you will see an abundance of the colors red, yellow and blue as these are the colors recognizing autism. You will see a lot of puzzle pieces as these are also representative of the disability – many people see autism as a puzzle as it is so difficult to ‘put the pieces’ together. A cause is still not known and a cure is presently not in site.