Autism Awareness Month in April aims to celebrate and promote acceptance for the condition that occurs in one in every 54 children as of 2020 in the United States. Autism, a complex developmental condition affecting the patient’s ability to interact, communicate, and progress, has not one but many subtypes. First held in the year 1972 by the Autism Society, Autism Awareness Month emphasizes the need for public awareness to promote acceptance, celebrate the differences, and be more inclusive towards autistic individuals around us.
History of Autism Awareness Month
Every April, the Autism Society works to build an inclusive community where autistic individuals are embraced and supported to achieve the highest quality of life possible. The Autism Society was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland and remains one of the few grassroots organizations in the autistic community. Driven by the fact that autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the world, the Autism Society hosted one of its first nationwide efforts of an awareness campaign called National Autistic Children’s Week in 1972, which subsequently evolved into the Autism Awareness Month earmarked in April.
The Autism Society deeply understands the need to foster awareness and acceptance to ignite change and a healthier lifestyle through improved opportunities for people with autism. It works every day to improve the lives of affected individuals and families. The organization caters to more than 600,000 people living under the “autism onslaught,” using tools like community partnerships with organizations, digital and print resources, along with events and referrals to spark empathy and inclusivity in the general public. Besides educating masses for better systems-wide change and acceptance, their affiliate program stretches across more than 75 networks and advocates for exclusive services for the autistic community.
With the autism diagnosis rate increasing fast, we take these 30 days to celebrate the differences of-, learn more about-, and empower autistic individuals.
Autism Awareness Month timeline
A project launches to study brain tissue and understand autism at the root level.
The Autism Society establishes a Foundation focused on applied research.
The puzzle-ribbon is adapted as the universal sign for Autism awareness.
On March 4, the Autism Society of America officially announces the shift in terminology from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month.
Autism Awareness Month FAQs
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a brain developmental disorder caused by genetic mutation and sometimes, by environmental triggers.
What are the common signs of Autism?
Although the autism spectrum is vast, some of the common signs in autistic individuals are repetitive behaviors, hyperactivity, and extreme sensitivity to light, touch, and sound.
Can Autism be treated?
While there is no absolute cure for autism, therapies and medication can help reduce abnormal behavior and the onset of related symptoms such as seizures.
How To Observe Autism Awareness Month
Find out and participate in local groups activities
There are many events lined by local autism awareness organizations in your city. Reach out to one of the local groups, get a timetable of the events planned for the month, and make sure you bring along your children to participate. These can range from fundraisers to Awareness Walks while enjoying the spring weather.
Read autism books to your children
The key mission of Autism Awareness Month is to educate the new generation in fostering acceptance and kindness towards the autistic community. “Ella Autie,” a story of a 4th grader battling society with autism is a great way to educate your kids during this month and start important conversations.
Donate to Autism Awareness Organizations
In the light of the pandemic, the autism community continues to face the worsts of challenges. Make it a goal to donate as much as you can to your local Autism Awareness Organizations or the Autism Society of America to further their efforts, and encourage their unrelenting support for the community.
5 Facts About Autism That Will Blow Your Mind
Autism means alone
The word “autism” is derived from the Greek word “autos” meaning self. The literal meaning of Autism is “alone.”
It is more common than other common diseases
Autism is found to be more prevalent than childhood cancer, diabetes, and AIDS.
Dogs are autistic-friendly
Research has shown that dogs are linked to improved quality of life in autistic children, helping with their aggressive behavior, promoting independence, and safety.
It is more likely to occur with “older” fathers
Another study reveals autism genetically occurs more in children with fathers aged over 40 years.
Drowning is the leading cause of death
People with Autism Spectrum Disorder are found to commonly die by drowning in water.
Why Autism Awareness Month Is Important
It is the fastest-growing developmental disorder
There are approximately 70 million recognized cases of autism worldwide. Besides genetic mutation, environmental triggers such as exposure to heavy metals, antibiotics, chemicals, drugs, and even extensive TV viewing can cause autism.
Autism has to be accepted with love
The increasing occurrences of autism in the United States is a telltale sign that it is high time the general public is factually educated on the disorder to inspire change and support. This month reminds us to be empathetic, warm, and welcoming to autistic individuals and families around us.
Early intervention help dealing with autism
If we can screen autism at an early age by being aware of its signs and symptoms, we can improve quality of lives such as by underlying brain development, behavior therapy, and occupational therapy.
Autism Awareness Month dates