April is National Autism Awareness Month, with World Autism Awareness Day occurring on April 2nd.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects an individual’s behavior and communication. Since autism is a developmental disorder, symptoms typically surface within the first few years of life. However, autism is a “spectrum disorder” because symptoms vary widely.
Wherever an individual falls on the spectrum, autism awareness is needed to increase understanding of the disorder and acceptance – which is what National Autism Awareness month is all about.
So, what can you do to raise awareness this year for National Autism Awareness Month?
Educate Yourself on Autism
The first step is to learn about ASD. This includes things like the signs and symptoms, causes and risks, as well as treatment options. You can learn more about ASD by clicking HERE.
If someone close to you has autism, provide support where you can. It does wonders for not only their mental health but yours as well.
In addition, support can include therapy. Therapy allows individuals to learn and apply skills that will help improve their relationships and well-being. Often individuals with ASD and their families need increased support. These supports include but are not limited to; Individual and Family Therapy, Play Therapy, as well as Occupational Therapy which allows patients and families to gain skills to recognize and understand social cues and communicate needs appropriately.
Finally, learn to embrace differences among others and reduce the stigma associated with autism. The uniqueness and specialness of each individual lie in their differences. Diversity continues to be embraced.
In March 2020, the US Federal Centers for Disease Control announced that 1 in 54 American children suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder. The term “Neurodivergent” has been used in mainstream media to acknowledge that brain differences are quite normal and shouldn’t be stigmatized. As a society, we are learning to accept that people with ASD interact, experience, and interpret the world differently.
Kindness is the key to a more inclusive world. It starts with you! Do you have an act of kindness you could perform today?