OUR VIEW: April is Autism Awareness Month

Published 11:20 am Friday, April 8, 2022

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We are already nearing the middle of April, and before the month gets too far along we want to remind everyone that April is Autism Awareness Month.

According to the autism advocacy group Autism Speaks, autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today.

There are many subtypes of autism, that give each person who has it a different set of challenges. Autism signs usually present themselves by age 2 or 3 but can present much earlier.

In the 1970s, the Autism Society started a nationwide campaign that was adopted by Congress in 1984 and received its own awareness ribbon in 1999.

Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright whose grandson was diagnosed with autism.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no cure for autism and there is no one-size fits all treatment. The goal of treatment is to maximize the child’s ability to function by reducing autism spectrum disorder symptoms and supporting development and learning.

The goal of any awareness month is to do just that, raise awareness, understanding and acceptance and inclusion of people living with it.

Many of us know a family that is raising or has raised a child with autism and the struggles they face are far-reaching.

This month also gives us the opportunity to celebrate those who identify with ASD and all of their contributions.

We encourage you to take a moment for the remainder of the month and learn more about autism and talk to people who are diagnosed with ASD and parents who are raising children with ASD.