What is World Autism Awareness Day?
2nd April 2014 World Autism Awareness Day is approved by the United Nations and hopes to bring the World’s attention to Autism, which affects millions of people across the world. The World Autism Awareness Day, which is now in its seventh year, encourages countries around the world to get involved in raising awareness!
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is held on the 2nd April each year but the fundraising and events will continue throughout the month of April, so there is plenty of time for you or your workplace to get involved!
The charity Autism Speaks supports WAAD with their ‘light it up blue’ campaign and in honour of this day buildings and iconic landmarks will be lit up in blue across the world, kicking off Autism Awareness month in style!
The general public and businesses can also take part with many people opting to wear blue to show their support!
What is Autism?
Autism is a neural disorder thought to be caused by genetic and environmental factors that affect brain development. Individuals can display a range of social, language and communication problems in varying degrees. Some other symptoms can include ritualistic behaviours, resistance to change, sensory difficulties and hyperactivity.
Cases can range from hardly noticeable, which often goes undiagnosed, through to more severe cases, where it is difficult for individuals to participate in society. Due to the varying nature of the condition, the general term of Autistic Spectrum Disorders is often used.
Autism can affect anyone but it is thought to be a condition that is congenital (present since birth), rather than one that develops. Signs and symptoms of autism are most likely to become apparent during the first 3 years of a child’s life.
In today’s society, anyone of any age can have autism, but it is most likely that older people were misdiagnosed, or had no diagnosis at all, simply accepted as being a bit different.
It is thought that as many as 700,000 people in the UK may have autism. Autistic spectrum disorders are also thought to be more four times more prevalent in males than females.
Aims and Objectives
WAAD hopes to raise awareness about autism across the world throughout all levels of society with the ultimate aim to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. With continued fundraising and awareness we can provide the appropriate support to those living with autism.
More funding means that more research can be carried out to better understand Autistic Spectrum Disorders including further research into the causes of this condition.
This will also reduce the number of people worldwide who are left misdiagnosed and often misunderstood because of a poor understanding of autism and its vast spectrum.
Perhaps most importantly the efforts of WAAD celebrates the unique skills and abilities of individual’s with autism!
There are many families in the UK and across the world who are directly affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
For those of you who would like to learn more about Autism whether it be because of your own experience of a friend or family member with Autism, or if this is relevant to your area of work, there are many courses relating to this condition including Autism Awareness and Autism Awareness for Educators.