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World Autism Awareness Day/Month

    

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 By ALIX LANGONE 
April 2, 2018
TIME Health
For more, visit TIME Health.

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, and people are wearing the color blue to raise awareness for the developmental disorder.

World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized event when the United Nations reaffirms its “commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects about 1% of the world’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This year’s World Autism Awareness Day is focused on supporting women and girls who have been diagnosed with the condition.

 

 

 

 

 
 
“The 2018 World Autism Awareness Day observance at United Nations Headquarters New York will focus on the importance of empowering women and girls with autism and involving them and their representative organizations in policy and decision making to address these challenges,” according to the U.N.’s website.

Various buildings and landmarks around the world will light up in the color blue Monday to raise autism awareness as well. The White House, the Empire State Building and Niagara Falls have all been lit in blue on Autism Awareness Day in years past.

If you want to show your support for autism awareness on social media, you can use these pre-written tweets and posts, or even turn your Facebook profile picture blue for the day/onth. You can also use the hashtag #LightItUpBlue.

April is also Autism Awareness Month.

More than 3.5 million Americans fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, according to the Autism Society of America; about 1 in 68 children in the U.S. are identified as having ASD, according to the CDC.

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as greatas the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.)

 

 

Know the signs: Early identification can change lives

Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. For more information on developmental milestones, visit the CDC’s “Know the Signs. Act Early” site.

HERE ARE SOME SIGNS TO LOOK FOR IN THE CHILDREN IN YOUR LIFE:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

 

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Curated posts related to this International Day.

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