April is National Autism Awareness Month! Since the 1970s, the United States has recognized this month in honor of those who are affected by Autism to educate the public and raise awareness. Autism affects about one in 110 babies born in the United States. But what is Autism and how can you help?
Autism is a developmental disorder affecting a child’s ability to interact with others. It typically appears somewhere between birth and three years of age. It affects each child differently. Symptoms, severity and age all vary. Thus, it’s called a “spectrum disorder.” There is no known cause, and although at present it’s incurable, it can be controlled through treatment, especially if it’s diagnosed early on.
What Should I Look For?
Again, if diagnosed early and treatment is started, significant improvements in outcome can be seen. Some signs include –
• Difficulty in achieving spoken language.
• Repetition in language or mannerisms such as hand flapping, object twirling, etc.
• Little or no eye contact, especially during communication.
• A distinct lack of interest in cultivating interpersonal relationships with peers.
• Lack of imaginative or spontaneous play.
• Focusing on an object’s parts rather than the whole.
What Can I Do? Put on the Puzzle!
The official symbol of National Autism Awareness Month is the Puzzle Ribbon. Show your support of the over 13 million families affected by the disorder by wearing the ribbon with pride. Whether it’s a pin, a magnet for your car, or something even more creative, be sure to show your support! Showing empathy, even in a small way, for all the families with children who suffer from Autism is the first step in helping out, and it’s a big part of April’s Awareness Month.
How to Make a Big Difference
Local and federal legislators can help, too. Sometimes a simple letter to your representative telling them to “vote 4 Autism” is all it takes to make a big push in the right direction. Even a small push could make a real difference in the lives of so many affected by this disorder. “Vote 4 Autism” is a group dedicated to just that – making a change through legislation. Be sure to check with your local Autism Society chapter to stay up to date on the latest events and information.
Also, reaching out to your community can make a huge difference. Chances are, there are families near you who need at least a supportive word of encouragement or a friend. Maybe you even know a family affected by Autism personally. Reach out to help out!
Finally, attend a meeting and get educated! Since this is Autism Awareness Month, there will be plenty of events locally and nationally. The events will allow you to meet families, learn more about the disorder and find out even more ways to help.
If your child has Autism, consider taking a proactive step by purchasing medical ID jewelry that displays his or her condition. For most parents with an autistic child, safety is of the utmost importance. Medical ID jewelry can help by keeping your child’s teachers, friends, doctors and other family members in the know.
Autism awareness jewelry from American Medical ID comes in a fun array of colors and styles to match your child’s personality. Play a part in National Autism Awareness Month and help parents of other autistic children see the importance of Autism bracelets for the safety of their little ones. It may even become a new symbol of awareness!