The Importance of World Autism Awareness Day
Today is the 8th Annual World Autism Awareness Day. Each year, Autism organizations around the world celebrate this day to spread awareness and acceptance of individuals with Autism. According to a recent report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children in the United States has Autism, or is affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This number is up almost 30% from 1 in 88 just two years ago.
Autism is a spectrum disorder which involves complex disorders of brain development. Individuals affected by Autism may show difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Other areas affected by ASD can include intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention. Some people can also have physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. It is not uncommon however, for those on the spectrum to excel in various areas such as visual skills, music, math and art.
Now known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, the various degrees of Autism were previously referred to as an autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. Although the cause of Autism is not known, it is believed that it begins early in a child's brain development, with the signs and symptoms emerging typically between two and three years of age.
Today, we wear blue to spread awareness for Autism. I proudly am. I encourage you to take a moment to become more aware and educated about Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders. For more information about Autism signs and symptoms, diagnosis, early intervention, research, treatment and advocacy, please visit Autism Speaks and the National Autism Association.