The average eight year old kid wakes up, plays with their toys until mom or dad says to stop, they get ready for school and spend the day with their friends in a sanctuary of learning. That may not be the case for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly known as just Autism. This child’s day might look a little different. Families living with Autism face unique challenges that many will not understand. Autism Awareness month is designated to not only highlight the struggles, but also the achievements made by those that are living with Autism.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in every 68 children have been identified with ASD. This number has significantly increased over the last decade with no true indication why. There is currently no cure for ASD, but there are treatment options to improve development in children. Symptoms of Autism can include not wanting to be cuddled, avoiding eye contact, wanting to be alone, or showing an interest in others but not knowing how to approach them or certain situations.
Across the nation, there is a growing understanding of the needs individuals with Autism have during their life. There are organizations that strive to provide independence for individuals with Autism as well as their caregivers. There are continuing education opportunities, employment, housing options, and other means of support that will completely allow them to participate in a community.
Autism Awareness Month is dedicated to making families and friends aware of the signs and symptoms, but also to increase acceptance. Accepting people for who they are, and learning to understand them is just as important as understanding the causes of Autism.
Visit autismspeaks.org to learn more about Autism and to get involved. Light It Up Blue and raise awareness. It’s okay to be different.