Autism Month stresses unity despite differences
Last updated 4/8/2020 at 4:33pm | View PDF
Most of us have never appreciated the rich diversity of our society as much as we do now, eager for more scenery options after weeks holed up at home.
The Autism Society of America this April also wants to Celebrate Differences, making it the theme of this year’s National Autism Awareness Month.
“Designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms and realities of autism, #CelebrateDifferences focuses on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance and be more inclusive in everyday life,” the society proclaims on its website.
The prevalence of autism in the United States has risen from 1 in 125 children in 2010 to 1 in 54 in 2020, according to the society. Autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental disability, with signs typically appearing during early childhood and affecting a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Individual cases can differ widely and to varying degrees, and, unfortunately, no single cause has been identified.
This month is the ideal time to share the following facts about ASD.
• Parents who have a child with ASD have up to an 18 percent chance of having a second child who is also affected.
• ASD tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions. About 10 percent of children with autism are also identified as having Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis or other genetic and chromosomal disorders.
• Almost half of children identified with ASD have average to above average intellectual ability.
• Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having ASD.
• Even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2, most children are not diagnosed until after age 4.
• ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups and is about four times more common among boys than girls.
Locally the counseling center at The Community House provides support for those with ASD and their families. Unfortunately, the Walk the Walk held each April to benefit behavioral health services and creative solutions (such as art therapy) at The Community House’s counseling center had to be postponed. But registration remains open at https://www.thecommunityhouse.org/walkthewalk2020.
At the national level. President Donald Trump issued a proclamation honoring those living with ASD for World Autism Awareness Day April 2.
“Today, we join with the international ASD community in reaffirming our resolve to support all those with ASD as they continue to strengthen our families, our communities, our nation and the world,” he stated. “Together, we will work to promote more meaningful connections of respect and build a society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
Christopher Banks, president and CEO of Autism Society of America, said the goal for National Autism Awareness Month is simple.
“We want to provide information, resources and support for the communities we serve in an effort to create more opportunities for an inclusive society. We believe it is important that every community has a clear understanding of autism and the desire to build inclusivity as we #CelebrateDifferences,” he said.