Monday, April 2, 2012

World Autism Awareness Day is Here

Happy World Autism Awareness Day!

Love this badge I found online.
Okay, so maybe the spirit of the day isn't exactly celebratory.  I do feel that some celebration is in order, however.  In honor of this fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day, some very heavy-hitters, like the Pope and the CDC, have publicly drawn attention to the growing autism epidemic.  Even if the research is a day late and a dollar short (being based on 4 year old data and all) and even if the Vatican made autism sound like a tragic death sentence, they brought attention to autism for a large part of the population.  It is this attention that will promote an interest, that will lead to a desire to understand autism in the general population and not just by those affected.  Of course parents and loved ones and those affected by autism have these interests and desires, but the rest of the world needs to understand that autism will affect them one day too-- if it hasn't already.  1 in 88, y'all-- I'm pretty sure you know someone.  If you know my angels, you know two.

Do you know someone on the autism spectrum?  Have they inspired you to learn more about autism?  Have they just plain inspired you?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then I challenge you to do something about that today.  Read the CDC report, check out a book at the library, ask your friend/family member that is affected by autism what it means to them and how it changed their life.  If you have a friend or family member with a newly diagnosed child, ask them how you can be supportive; but, most importantly, continue to be for them who you were before the diagnosis as well.  Parents need support and understanding as much as the child.  The only way to be prepared for our encounters with autism, to be accepting of those with autism, to be aware of the effects of autism, is to be educated about autism.  Be one of the few that acts for the growing autism crisis, rather than one who reacts to autism.

Hopefully, as you are out and about today doing you daily life routine, you will see signs of a growing awareness in our world.  Light It Up Blue is today--another way to raise awareness-- and I hope you will see blue lights lighting up doorsteps of homes, landmarks, and public buildings in your area.  I hope you start to notice the rainbow-colored puzzle pieces on bumpers in traffic that draw attention to Autism Awareness.  I hope you notice the child that you once thought was weird or disabled or in need of discipline, and understand that sometimes situations aren't as simple as they seem on the surface.  I hope you live today in awareness.

1 comment:

  1. My husband often works with children and young adults with autism. My eyes have been opened in the last 6 years, knowing more and more people who have children with autism, and it has caused me to look back carefully to the people I knew in childhood, the ones that never really fit in, who had difficulty forming bonds and friendships, etc., who were shunned (publicly or silently) by myself and my peers, and wonder if they may have been on the autism spectrum. I wish I could find some of those people, to know they're okay now, and to apologize in some way.