9th Annual World Autism Awareness Day
Although this is a cooking and gardening blog, today I am writing in support of the 9th Annual World Autism Awareness Day. For the past twelve years, I have worked as a Learning Specialist at Franklin Academy in East Haddam, CT. Franklin Academy is a private college prep school that serves bright students with learning differences and diagnoses such as Autism. My students are amazing, and I am lucky to work with them. To learn more about Franklin Academy, check out the following link: http://fa-ct.org.
What is Autism?
World Autism Awareness Day takes place on April 2nd. This day is recognized by the United Nations. The UN members are encouraged to take steps to raise awareness of autism. According to http://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/background.shtml, “Autism is a neurological condition 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.”
So, how common is Autism? According to the CDC, in the United States Autism has been identified in 1 in 68 children and occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Further, the CDC reports that 1% of the world population has Autism. Lastly, it is reported in boys 4.5 times as often than in girls.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no medical test to diagnose Autism. Instead, Autism is diagnosed through a diagnostic evaluation that is often performed by a psychologist or a multi-disciplinary team. The evaluation will examine the child’s behavior and development through direct observations, interviews, and record reviews.
Some children are diagnosed very young. However, otters are diagnosed much later. In fact, some people are diagnosed well into their adulthood. Although Autism is not something can be cured, early intervention is highly beneficial. With appropriate support and accommodation people on the Autism Spectrum live more rewarding lives.
How You Can Help
You can make a difference in the lives of those with Autism. Here are some ideas:
- Wear an autism awareness ribbon
- Join local events like walks or races
- Donate to credible organizations
- Provide job opportunities
To learn more about how to make a difference, please check out the following links: http://www.washingtonautismadvocacy.org/updates/volunteer-opportunities/
The autism awareness graphic comes from the following link: