World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd. In fact, it will be the 13th World Autism Awareness Day April 2, in 2020. In many countries, the whole of April is Autism Awareness month.
It is a whole month of awareness, education and fund raising for autism causes, support groups, research centers and charities.
You will notice hundreds of thousands of landmarks, world monuments, homes and buildings being lit up in light blue “to help foster understanding, acceptance and world wide support” according to Autism Speaks.
How Did World Autism Awareness Day Become So Global?
World Autism Awareness Day is one of only seven official health-specific United Nation Days.
The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world. They help research, diagnoses, treatment, and acceptance for those affected by this developmental disorder.
World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized event. The UN reaffirms its “commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism”.
They aim to ensure they have “the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.”
However, there are still major barriers for families to access the use of assistive technologies, due to high costs and lack of availability.
Is There Actually Anyone Who Is Not Already Aware Of Autism?
Worldwide awareness and acceptance is certainly growing, but there are still a lot of families without access to support and help.
In the UK, 700,000 people are diagnosed with autism. Together with their families, this mean 2.8 million people whose lives are affected by autism on a daily basis.
National Autistic Society is the leading UK autistic charity and undertakes many initiatives to raise awareness and raise money.
Many schools, councils and work places will hold activities and events as fund raisers.
Look out for fairs and charity sport events to join and raise money.
In USA, the National Autism Association is the leader in autism safety.
They report that 58% of autistic kids wander away or run away. This is 4 times higher than average for kids of their age. Learn how to create an autism friendly home.
Accidental drowning accounts for 91% deaths of under 14 year olds with autism. Children with autism also face horrendous bullying and abuse from other kids. Many do poorly at school and struggle into adulthood with very few friends and very low employment rates.
According to Stephanie Seneff at MIT says autism is the world’s fastest growing developmental disorder. She predicts 50% of kids born by 2025 will be autistic.
You would think that once Sesame street introduced a character on the autistic spectrum “Julia” that everyone would know about it. However, there is still a long way to go.
It is a struggle for many kids with autism to get educational support, to learn extra skills and to acquire workplace opportunities.
This requires ongoing funding and heightened awareness.
Not Everyone Is A Fan Of World Autism Awareness Day
Some parents are furious that World Autism Awareness Day denies the harsh realities that some parents face each and every day.
Kim Stagliano has 3 daughters with autism. She wrote in the Washington Post that many of these messages re autism awareness are rather flippant. They do not address the continual minute by minute struggles of parents with autism.
While some may be able to celebrate autism with “unique talents and skills”, others struggle each and every day just to do the basics.
She feels it should be a solemn day of awareness and education rather than a “celebration”.
Chances are most people will know or be related to someone with autism. It is vital that there is continued autism education in the general public.
This way, those with autism can have the best chance to grow and thrive.
Many families need to be able to access the support they truly need.
Autism can be an invisible disability. Many suffer extreme difficulties with social interactions or sensory processing that others are not immediately aware of.
And remember, each autistic person has their unique version of autism.
If you’ve met one person with autism, this means you’ve only met one person with autism.
So on world autism awareness day, make sure you check what local events are happening in your area.
Get involved in raising money, spreading the message at your workplace or school. Look for ways you can participate, volunteer and give some financial support.
It will all help to make our world a better place.