Help Good Charity to Increase Awareness of Autism
April 9th, 2013 by Brian Maiorana
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or simply autism as it is typically known, is still not particularly well understood by science. It is certainly even less understood by the public at large, many of whom do not understand that early diagnosis and early behavioral therapy intervention can improve quality of life in sufferers of autism.
That is the reality we face in April 2013, which also happens to be the most important month on the calendar for autism awareness. It is currently World Autism Awareness Month and we recently celebrated the Annual World Autism Day on April 2nd.
With the above in mind, what should you know about autism and how can you assist in increasing awareness and ultimately helping those who can benefit from our better understanding of the disorder?
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is in fact an umbrella term for a number of disorders relating to brain development. It is typically identified by (but not limited to) the following symptoms:
- Issues with social interaction and verbal/non-verbal communication
- Difficulties in motor coordination
- Repetitive behavior
The symptoms of autism will typically be noticed during the a child’s first three years but it can be difficult to recognize them unless one knows what to look for. Parents invariably seek medical advice on the basis that their child is acting unusually but do not necessarily understand what the problem may be.
The Importance of Understanding Autism
The aim of the Annual World Autism Day is primarily to raise awareness of a disorder that is still not particularly well understood by science. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a statement on April 2nd to mark the day in which he outlined why it is so important:
This international attention is essential to address stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate support structures. Now is the time to work for a more inclusive society, highlight the talents of affected people and ensure opportunities for them to realize their potential.
And Barack Obama released a Presidential Proclamation on April 1st in which he made clear why awareness of autism needs to increase:
Today, public health officials estimate that 1 in every 88 children in America is growing up on the autism spectrum. It is a reality that affects millions of families every day, from the classroom to the job market. And while our country has made progress in supporting Americans with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), we are only beginning to understand the factors behind the challenges they face. On World Autism Awareness Day, we recommit to helping individuals on the autism spectrum reach their full potential.
The fact is that autism is not a rare disorder. Each of us is likely to come into contact with it (and be affected by it) in our lifetime.
Not only that, but diagnoses of autism are on the rise — a recent CDC report concluded that cases of autism have increased 78 percent from 2002 to 2008. Although this increase may in part be down to a boost in awareness, health experts opine that “genetic abnormalities” passed down from older fathers could also be a cause.
Increased Awareness of Autism is Vital
With autism on the rise it becomes even more important that more people are made aware of autism and its effects. The positive consequences of early diagnosis and treatment cannot be underestimated in terms of increasing quality of life amongst autism sufferers in the long term.
The Annual World Autism Day has been an incredibly effective movement for those who seek to increase awareness of autism. Now is the time to capitalize on that by helping even more people to understand what autism means to our society.