Autism Sunday – February 12, 2023

Autism Sunday, observed on the second Sunday in February and taking place on February 12 this year, is also known as the International Day of Prayer for Autism Spectrum Disorders. It raises awareness of autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how people interact socially, and with their surroundings. It was first held in 2002 during Autism Awareness Year in the United Kingdom and was initiated by parents Ivan Corea and Charika Corea, founders of the Autism Awareness Campaign U.K.

History of Autism Sunday

Autism is a developmental disorder often noticed within the first three years of a child’s life. It affects millions of people worldwide and often creates a social stigma towards patients and parents or caregivers.

Autism dates back to the 1700s, with the first well-documented cases being that of Hugh Blair of Borgue in 1747 and the Wild Boy of Aveyron in 1798. Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler coined the word autism in 1910 while defining symptoms of schizophrenia. Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital first used it in modern terms in the systematic description of early infantile autism in a 1943 report of 11 children with striking behavioral similarities.

Up until the 1980s, autism was not differentiated from other mental and developmental disorders such as Asperger syndrome and childhood Schizophrenia. In 1980, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D.S.M.) differentiated autism from childhood schizophrenia in the D.S.M.-III. The D.S.M.-III-R provided a checklist for diagnosing autism in 1987. In May 2013, the DSM-5 was released, which grouped disorders, including P.DD.-NOS, autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, and CDD, into the general term of Autism Spectrum Disorders, with the two categories being impaired social communication and restricted repetitive behaviors.

Ivan and Charika Corea initiated Autism Sunday. Their child, Charin, has autism spectrum disorder and a communication disorder. They are also the founders of the Autism Awareness Campaign U.K. and urged leaders of religious organizations and world leaders around the globe to speak up for people with autism spectrum disorders. The first service for autism was held in February 2002 at St Paul’s Cathedral in London and has since been observed annually on the second Sunday of February.

Autism Sunday timeline

1747
Hugh Blair of Borgue

Blair’s case becomes the first well-documented case of autism.

1943
The Modern Definition of Autism

Leo Kanner first uses autism in modern terms as the label in the description for early infantile autism.

2002
Say a Prayer for Autism

Autism Sunday is initiated by Ivan Corea and Charika Corea.

2013
Autism Spectrum Disorders

The D.S.M.-5 is released, grouping P.D..D-NOS, autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, and C.D.D., into the general term of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Autism Sunday FAQs

Is autism a disability?

Yes, it is. Autism is a neurological developmental disability. However, every autistic person’s individual experience is different, and support needs and services can vary widely.

Does autism worsen with age?

Autism does not worsen or change with age. Research in the past several years has, however, shown that children can outgrow a diagnosis but the vast majority of such children still have difficulties that require therapeutic and educational support.

What causes autism?

Several things can cause autism. Some of which include, hereditary conditions, gene mutation, being born to older parents, environmental conditions such as toxins, and risk factors during pregnancy such as alcohol, drugs, rubella, e.t.c.

How to Observe Autism Sunday

  1. Say a prayer

    Autism Sunday was created to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders and urges us to be more mindful of the cause. Take some time out today to say a prayer for those affected with autism spectrum disorders, including their parents or caregivers who spend the majority of their time looking after them.

  2. Attend a service

    Some churches and organizations hold special services on this day. Find one nearest to you, and attend the service with a humble heart.

  3. Spread awareness

    Autistic patients and caregivers often face a lot of social stigmas because people do not understand. Use today to spread awareness on autism spectrum disorders. Use the hashtag #AutismSunday to spread awareness through social media.

5 Facts About Autism Spectrum Disorder (A.S.D.)

  1. It is more common than you think

    A.S.D. affects one in 68 children, it is more common than childhood cancer, AIDS, and diabetes.

  2. There is no cure

    There is no medical detection or cure for autism spectrum disorder yet.

  3. It means ‘alone’

    The term stems from the Greek word ‘autos,’ meaning ‘self,’ and literally means ‘alone.’

  4. It is not a final sentence

    With support, children with A.S.D. can learn and succeed in the classroom and beyond.

  5. Symptoms appear at an early age

    A.S.D. can be reliably diagnosed by age two and even earlier.

Why Autism Sunday is Important

  1. It raises awareness

    Autism Sunday raises awareness about A.S.D. and encourages people to understand and sympathize with the cause. There is a lot of stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental and developmental disorders, and days like Autism Sunday educate the world on such issues.

  2. It provides encouragement

    Autism Sunday does not only raise awareness but also provides encouragement and support to those affected by A.S.D., including the caregivers. Autism Sunday makes affected parties feel less alone in the struggle.

  3. It unites us for a cause

    Autism Sunday encourages everyone to stand up for the A.S.D. cause and gives us a similar fighting cause. This is regardless of if you have been directly affected by A.S.D. or not.

Autism Sunday dates

YearDateDay
2022February 13Sunday
2023February 12Sunday
2024February 11Sunday
2025February 9Sunday
2026February 8Sunday

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