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World Autism Month – October 2023

World Autism Month is celebrated in April. It is an annual opportunity for people all over the world to celebrate and discuss autism. Currently, one out of every 66 children in Canada is autistic. This statistic has risen dramatically in recent years, and it is now considered an epidemic. Let us work together to create an inclusive Canada where autistic people can reach their full potential.

History of World Autism Month

Autism was first described in medical literature in the 1700s as part of a larger discussion of what we now call a developmental disability. However, it wasn’t until the 1940s that scientists began to focus specifically on autism. Leo Kanner, an Austrian-American psychiatrist at John Hopkins University, published a series of 11 case studies in which he described 11 children who had similar symptoms. Hans Asperger’s paper soon after described a similar condition in children. These two papers are credited with bringing autism into the public eye.

In 1980, the first formal diagnostic criteria for autism were published. The number of reported cases of autism has risen dramatically since then. The month of April is World Autism Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder. Autism affects over 70 million people worldwide and is the most rapidly growing developmental disability in North America. This year, one in every 66 children and youth in Canada has been diagnosed with the disorder, making it the fastest-growing developmental disability.

In 2008, many countries lit up their landmarks with blue lights to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism. That year, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2 to be World Autism Awareness Day. In 2012, Canada passed legislation designating April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day to raise awareness about bullying and discrimination against people with autism.

World Autism Month timeline

1700s
The Earliest Known Description Of Autism

The earliest known description of autism is mentioned for the first time in medical literature.

1940s
A Focus On Autism

Leo Kanner, an Austrian-American psychiatrist, working at Johns Hopkins University, publishes a series of 11 case studies describing 11 children with similar symptoms.

2012
The Canadian Parliament

Canada passes legislation designating April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day to raise awareness about bullying and discrimination against people living with autism.

3 April 2019
Landmark Lights

Many countries light up their landmarks with blue lights to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism.

World Autism Month FAQs

At what age does autism appear?

Autism spectrum disorder (A.S.D.) usually has its onset in early childhood. Many children show symptoms of A.S.D. by 12 months to 18 months of age, or earlier.

What is an autistic person like?

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder may find it hard to interact with other people. They may not understand how other people think or feel. They may get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events. They may take longer to understand information.

What is the new autism symbol?

Infinity has become a symbol of neurodiversity for many members of the autism community. Why is there a rainbow? It represents the entire autism spectrum, which is full of wonder and opportunity.

How to Observe World Autism Month

  1. Light it up blue

    In April, Autism Speaks its annual "Light It Up Blue" campaign to raise awareness about autism. Go blue! Replace the light bulbs in your home with blue bulbs, and change your profile picture on social media to a blue one. Businesses in many cities will do the same thing. If there isn't one in your town, contact your local government or businesses and ask them to go blue!

  2. Support autism-friendly businesses

    Many businesses offer services to people with autism. Businesses are looking for new ways to hire neurodiverse employees and give them opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. Find out about their company and show your support for it.

  3. Raise awareness with what you wear

    To raise awareness, wear blue clothing, a hat with an autism organization's logo, or a shirt representing autism organizations. Let's make it easier for people to learn about autism by wearing our support for those who live with it. If you don't have any autism awareness clothing on hand, go to your local craft store and make some ribbons to wear.

5 Facts About Autism You Need To Know

  1. No cure

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

  2. There are more cases than we know

    A basic level test was performed on 750,000 undiagnosed people to determine whether they might have autism resulting in 87,000 participants reaching the threshold where they may have an autism spectrum disorder.

  3. More men have autism than women

    According to the C.D.C., five times as many males are diagnosed with autism as females, however, recent studies indicate that perhaps women are better at masking their symptoms and therefore go untested or undiagnosed.

  4. Caring cost reached $268 billion

    In 2015, Americans with autism spent $268 billion on care and related expenses, and is expected to rise to $461 billion in 2025 if more-effective intervention and support are not established.

  5. Autism is everywhere

    Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that has been diagnosed in many different races, ethnicities, and geographic locations.

Why World Autism Month is Important

  1. Promote understanding

    World Autism Month is an opportunity to promote understanding and acceptance of people with autism. Its purpose is to advocate for early diagnosis and intervention and raise awareness of the needs of those with autism and their families.

  2. It is the right time to donate

    Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, is committed to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and a cure for autism, raising awareness of autism spectrum disorders, and advocating for the needs of people with autism and their families. We are committed to raising the funds required to support these objectives.

  3. Educate us about autism

    It's an important time to learn more about autism, which affects one out of every 68 children. And, while autism is no longer considered a rare disorder, there is still a lack of knowledge about it.

World Autism Month dates

YearDateDay
2023October 1Sunday
2024October 1Tuesday
2025October 1Wednesday
2026October 1Thursday
2027October 1Friday
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