Today is World Autism Awareness Day [VIDEO]
According to the CDC, 1 in 68 American children is diagnosed with autism. In other countries around the world, the rate has been show to be even higher. How much do you know about Autism? Can you recognize it? Can you cope with it? Can you make accommodations for those you work with, talk with and meet that are autistic? Today is a chance to take that all into account and make yourself a little more aware of a behavior that many so foolishly dismiss.
World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.
As a parent and an individual, I am all too aware of the effects of high-functioning Autism. As an elementary school kid, you can seem perfectly normal on the outside, but your mind is working on a completely different level than your classmates. You're able to focus intensely on certain subjects, but only ones that hold your interest. As a high-schooler, you may be socially awkward, unable to forge multiple relationships with other students and be uninterested in what others perceive as 'normal activities', in effect making you an outcast who can only sustain a few friends. As an adult, impulsiveness and overly truthful statements will make your everyday relationships with family strained, your co-workers will consider you an outsider and a loud-mouth, because you can't seem to understand why everyone else is so overly-sensitive to your observations.
One of the hardest to understand for 'normals' is Aspergers' Syndrome. Mostly because there are relatively few physical signs, and it is considered one of the highest functioning disorders under the spectrum. The Autism Speaks website says;
Affected children and adults have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Motor development may be delayed, leading to clumsiness or uncoordinated motor movements. Compared with those affected by other forms of Autism Spectrum Disorders, however, those with Asperger syndrome do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development. Some even demonstrate precocious vocabulary – often in a highly specialized field of interest.
These children tend to show typical or even exceptional language development. However, many tend to use their language skills inappropriately or awkwardly in conversations or social situations such as interacting with their peers. Often, the symptoms of Asperger syndrome are confused with those of other behavioral issues such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Indeed, many persons affected by Asperger syndrome are initially diagnosed with ADHD until it becomes clear that their difficulties stem more from an inability to socialize than an inability to focus their attention.
There are a multitude of disorders that fall under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders. You can find out more right now at AutismSpeaks.org. Today is the day you can take 10 minutes and find out more about the people who are more than likely sitting to your right or in the office on your left. Or in the mirror in front of you.
Today and all month long, you can show your support and make others aware by wearing blue, changing your Social Media profile images blue or putting blue lights on your house. I thank you for your support.