Monday, April 2, 2012

World Autism Awareness Day


Today is World Autism Awareness Day, the kick-off day for Autism Awareness Month

As those who read my blog know, I have a 17 year old son who has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of High-Functioning Autism. As I wrote about in "I think I Might Be Starting To Like You", William has been facing many challenges throughout his lifetime.  He finally has discovered himself and what a wonderful young man that I have been telling him he is. 

Every year, Autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events.

One autism awareness initiative, Light It Up Blue, is in its third year. It is a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world will "Light It Up Blue" to show their support.

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), with the goal of bringing the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions.

World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health concern. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism crisis and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of people with autism, and features community events around the world where individuals with autism and their families are warmly welcomed and embraced.

About Autism

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders - autism spectrum disorders - caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum - a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

Health officials attribute the increase largely to better recognition of cases, through wide screening and better diagnosis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers Thursday. They are the latest in a series of studies that have been steadily increasing the government's estimate for autism.

This new estimate means autism is nearly twice as common as officials said it was only five years ago, and likely affects roughly 1 million U.S. children and teens.

From my own personal aspect, these statistics and facts are interesting but they don't help my son and they don't help my family deal with the challenges of living with a family member with the issues that William has.  

Diet helps, we are trying to cut back on gluten.  Helping his siblings understand the odd behaviour, the weakness of his self-control helps. Letting William know that no matter what, we love him - that helps the most.

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