April is Autism Awareness Month. I know our family & friends are completely aware of autism! My personal goal is to educate enough people about autism in order to bring about more understanding and acceptance! Autistic individuals are amazing and unique individuals.
Today is World Autism Day and we are wearing blue as we stand together with thousands of other families around the world that have a child or children with autism. We will also be “lighting it up blue” tonight. Our porch lights have all been changed to blue lights. I will be sharing a lot with all of you this month, but today I want to share 5 important things!
1) Be aware! The CDC just released their latest report last week that stated that 1 in 88 individuals in the United States have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Those numbers are alarming, not only because it is up from 1 in 110, but also because these numbers are actually from data collected in 2008. When Skylar was diagnosed in 2002, she was 1 in 160 kids diagnosed with autism. Whether or not you believe that vaccines play a role, that there is an environmental factor, or that genetics factor into play, we should all be concerned by the rising prevalence of autism. If you don’t know someone with autism now, I assure you, you will soon!
2) Be Kind! There is a divide in the autism community! Those that support Autism Speaks & those that hate them! Those that believe vaccines cause autism & those that do not! Whatever side you are on, the first thing that you should remember is that we all love our kids so very deeply that we would do anything & everything in our power to help them! I have been deeply saddened at the name calling & the extreme judgement that I have seen within our community. Common courtesy goes a LONG way ladies & gentlemen!
3) Get involved! Whether it be with an actual organization, participating in a walk, or helping a family you might know that has a child with autism. I have been so deeply touched by our friends and family that have come along side of us to help with our fundraising efforts for Skylar’s bicycle! You can read about our efforts here.
4) Don’t judge! This is a biggie! If you are in the grocery store and you see a child having a meltdown, don’t assume they are misbehaving. The stares and the comments like “if that were my kid I would just spank her” or “wow, what a terror” do NOT help. The judgement HAS TO STOP!
5) Ask questions! If you have concerns about your child don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask for further testing and share your concerns. Making a list of your concerns such as your child’s lack of language and social skills is a good place to start. Early intervention is key!
As always I am happy to answer any questions you might have! Make sure you check back here regularly as I will be doing several giveaways this month including a beautiful autism awareness bracelet from my mom and a set of flashcards from Goosie Cards.