“Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be.”
― Temple Grandin
Happy World Autism Awareness Day
Happy 11th World Autism Awareness Day. For parents, caregivers and educators Autism Awareness is a daily initiative which extends itself past this one day. As a community we actively look for ways to engage, educate and spread awareness all year around.
What is World Autism Awareness Day (a backstory) –
Did you know that the United Nations declared April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day?
Throughout its history, the United Nations family has celebrated diversity and promoted the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, including learning differences and developmental disabilities. In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, reaffirming the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all. Its purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It is a vital tool to foster an inclusive and caring society for all and to ensure that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socioeconomic status. The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics. Appropriate support, accommodation and acceptance of this neurological variation allow those on the Spectrum to enjoy equal opportunity, and full and effective participation in society.
Autism is mainly characterized by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.
The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities.
The stigmatization and discrimination associated with neurological differences remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and therapies, an issue that must be addressed by both public policy-makers in developing nations, as well as donor countries. (www.un.org)
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.
A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder. (via www.CDC.gov)
Ways To Get Involved
Community Events – A host of different non-profit organizations will be hosting walks, donation events and autism friendly events and more for not only Autism Awareness Day, but the month of April. A site that I like to use to find events in my area is Eventbrite. Im sure you can use Eventbrite to find some events happening in your area.
Start A Walk. Have A Conversation. Be An Advocate
Having conversations to dispel myths and address misunderstandings is key. It helps to build a community of understanding and awareness. Knowledge is key and when we know better, we do better. Sometimes, in talking to other people about Autism, you will inevitably come across people who have family members or people close to them who are autistic.
If you are having trouble finding a autism walk or a autism event to attend in your area, you can start your own walk. Organize your own event. Encourage friends and family to walk, volunteer and show support.
Huge thank you to Neolle for putting together this helpful guide! Check back later today for activities and entertainment!