April 2 is Autism Awareness Day. Did you know that CDC statistics revealed that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is 4.3 times more prevalent in boys than it is in girls? This is because girls “often go undiagnosed because they don’t fit autism stereotypes and they mask symptoms better than boys do,” according to the Child Mind Institute. There is no better way to celebrate this day than by becoming aware of the characteristics of people with this condition and how all of us can do better to increase our own understanding and promote kindness.
When is Autism Awareness Day 2024?
World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2. The day recognizes and spreads awareness for the rights of people with autism. The condition typically starts during childhood and continues into adulthood.
History of Autism Awareness Day
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder characterized by behavioral and communicational affections that impact a person’s ability to navigate social interactions and also causes repetitive and restricted behavior.
The first historical appearance of the word “Autism” was made in 1911 by the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who used the term to describe a specific cluster of symptoms that were considered simple symptoms of schizophrenia as an extreme social withdrawal.
In that order, it was in 1943, when pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Leo Kanner characterized Autism as a social and emotional disorder in his article “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact”, and in 1944 Hans Asperger published his “Autism Psychopathology Article” where he described autism as a disorder of normal intelligence children who have difficulties with social and communication skills. These articles were an important contribution to the studies that helped to classified Autism as a disorder separate from schizophrenia in 1980.
With the continuous investigation and research on autism, World Autism Awareness Day was set to April 2 of each year by the “United Nations General Assembly” on “Resolution 62/139” and adopted on December 18 of 2007, to encourage member states to take action in raising awareness about people with autism spectrum disorder and support the research finding new ways to improve wellness and inclusion.
Finally, the notion of autism as a spectrum was developed in 2013 by the “American Psychiatric Association” in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” by combining all subcategories of autism and related conditions into one unified category, including varied characteristics, severity, and presentation of the symptoms.
Autism Awareness Day timeline
Treatments included secretin injection and risperidone to act on dopamine receptors.
As a result of her 30-year study, Sula Wolff publishes that children with Asperger syndrome represent the most subtle and most able end of the autism spectrum because they become independent as adults and display exceptional gifts.
Created by the United Nations General Assembly, World Autism Awareness Day lands on April 2 every year.
The "American Psychiatric Association" develops a unified category of Autism Spectrum in the "Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders."
Traditions of the Day
World Autism Awareness Day celebrates the resilience of those affected by the disorder and supports causes that promote awareness of it. Children in schools are educated about autism and encouraged to be accepting of it. As autistic children are subjected to bullying, it is very important for their peers to be tolerant and inclusive of them. The signs of autism are at times not so prevalent, which is why adults (especially parents) are also educated on this matter. Local businesses and shopping centers are also big on autism awareness, and a portion of their sales go towards autism causes and organizations.
By the Numbers
1 in 59 – the number of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2018.
1 in 34 – the number of boys diagnosed with ASD in 2016 according to data collected by the CDC.
1 in 145 – the number of girls diagnosed with ASD in 2016 according to data collected by the CDC.
4 – the age after which most children are diagnosed with ASD.
31% – the percentage of children with an intellectual disability due to ASD.
2-18% – the percentage of chances of parents having a second child with ASD after the first one.
36-95% – the percentage of chances that if one child has autism in a pair of twins, the other will be affected as well.
½ – of the total number of children with autism typically wander or ‘bolt’ from a safe setting if something catches their interest.
28% – the percentage of children with ASD who have self-harm behavior.
⅔ – of the total number of children with autism face severe bullying.
Autism Awareness Day FAQs
What causes Autism?
Scientists found recently that many genetic mutations can be associated with autism, the results show that there are more than 100 autism risk genes. But also most of the cases have a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors.
How can I know if my child has autism?
Autism is not diagnosed until the age of 2 years and only a specialist (psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist) can diagnose it, but there are some things to look for, like lack of sharing sound, smiles, and facial expressions by 9 months or forming words by 16 months.
What to do after a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disease?
It can be a struggle in the first months to accept the condition but the best way to deal with this diagnosis is to educate yourself and search for the help of a specialist (psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist) cause there are a lot of resources and treatments that can help you.
How to Observe Autism Awareness Day
Share information online
Even nowadays when almost everyone has access to information, there are still many people that don't know about autism and the characteristics of people with it. Become an advocate for the autistic community by educating the masses.
Get involved with autism associations
There are many people who either have autism or have a family member with autism and are a part of community-wide, nation-wide, or global-wide association. Get in contact with them to get involved in any activities planned for the day.
Take care of the people with autism spectrum diagnosis you know
World Autism Awareness Day is the perfect day to have a good time with your friends who are diagnosed with autism! Make sure to plan sensory-sensitive activities for you both to enjoy and pack gluten-free and casein-free foods to share.
5 FACTS FOR AUTISM AWARENESS
In 2018, approximately 1 in 59 children were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum — boys are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
An early diagnosis can be really helpful
Autism can be diagnosed as early as age 2 — early intervention affords the best opportunity to support wellness.
Autism spectrum carries associated conditions
Children with autism disorders are most likely to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders than other children, also more than half of children with autism have chronic sleep disorders.
An expensive disorder
It's estimated that the cost of caring for the services required (including the diet) for autism can be $196 billion per year for adults and $66 billion per year for children.
It's awesome to be different!
People with autism spectrum disorders can help to make a change in the world — all they need to be successful is treatment and support from their environment — just take people like Tim Burton, Charles Darwin, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein as an example.
Why Autism Awareness Day is Important
There is no cure, but there are treatments!
Nowadays, there are many ways to treat autism spectrum disorders, but they can only be reached when the person is diagnosed! By becoming aware we can help others to get in touch with specialists and start a treatment that can increase their wellness.
Don't try to change, start by understanding!
People with autism spectrum disorders have specific characteristics, behaviors, tastes, and ways to do things! The key is to understand their way to see the world and their performance without trying to make them change.
Adulthood with Autism disorders
There is no cure for Autism spectrum disorders! Once you get diagnosed it's a condition for the rest of your life, and research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence can increase daily skills and reduce autism symptoms.
Autism Awareness Day dates