April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month

AMID_AutismMonth (850x1800)The month of April is Autism Awareness Month, an entire month devoted to raising awareness about this disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in every 88 children is diagnosed with some form of autism – 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls, meaning boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.  Nearly every 20 minutes someone is diagnosed with autism.  It’s the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet it is also the most underfunded.

What is Autism?

Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3.  It impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function.  People with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.

Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention and treatment, the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases, completely overcome.  While there is no cure, autism is treatable.  It is not a hopeless condition.

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

while the month of April is Autism Awareness Month, the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2014.  On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity.  Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events.

What Can I Do to Help?

  1. Learn more about all aspects of autism and the spectrum.  Search the internet for autism facts.  You’ll be surprised by how much information is readily available.  Some great websites you can start with are www.autismspeaks.org, www.autism-society.org, www.CDC.gov, and www.tacanow.org, although there are many more.
  2. Make a financial donation to a nonprofit organization that works to help children and their families affected by autism.
  3. Volunteer for a nonprofit that does work in autism research or autism fundraising.
  4. Host a fundraiser:  Fundraise Your Way offers supporters the opportunity to raise funds for their special events though the internet.  Participants have the chance to create their own event, team and individual web pages as a means to involve people from all over the country in support of their events.
  5. Light It Up blue!  Light It Up Blue is sponsored by Autism Speaks  and is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.  On April 2nd, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges,  retail stores homes and communities will take part in Light It Up Blue by lighting their buildings blue, hosting fundraisers, and spreading autism awareness.  Click here to see ways you can participate.

Parents of children with autism should ensure that their child is wearing a medical ID bracelet at all times.  Autism can be a tricky condition for emergency medical professionals, primarily because the autism spectrum means that no two people with autism have exactly the same needs and concerns.  Some with autism take medications, others have sensory concerns, others may be non-verbal, and others may be very high functioning.  An autism medical ID can help inform medical and response personnel of the specific needs associated to the wearer and make sure that medications administered do not interfere or react to what may already have been taken.