World Autism Awareness Day is internationally recognized and is held every year on April 2nd. To increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, thousands of landmarks, homes and businesses in more than 150 countries are lit blue on this day. Some famous landmarks include Niagara Falls, the United Nations, the Empire State Building, and the White House.
Since April marks World Autism Month, autism-friendly events and educational activities will take place all over the world this month. The Wellness Institute will be working with strategic partners that provide resources for parents who have children with autism.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.)
KNOW THE SIGNS: EARLY IDENTIFICATION CAN CHANGE LIVES
Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. For more information on developmental milestones, visit the CDC’s “Know the Signs. Act Early” site.
HERE ARE SOME SIGNS TO LOOK FOR IN THE CHILDREN IN YOUR LIFE:
* Lack of or delay in spoken language
* Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
* Little or no eye contact
* Lack of interest in peer relationships
* Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
* Persistent fixation on parts of objects
Source: AUTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA
How much do you know about people with autism? Take the World Autism Month Quiz HERE:
AUTISM SPEAKS was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
For more information please visit: https://www.autismspeaks.org/