One in every 88 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which means that chances are you, or your children, know someone with ASD. Even though the number of autism diagnoses have increased tremendously over the past decade, there remains a great deal of confusion and misunderstandings. Parents of children with autism struggle to make friends and relatives understand what having autism means for their child and their family. And while families work hard to communicate with and understand their child, helping the outside world understand is sometimes just as difficult.
As we near the end of the year, it is traditional to make New Year’s resolutions, to choose some way to improve your self and your life. But as we enter 2013, let’s work together instead to increase not only awareness but understanding of autism spectrum disorders.
The following are some ways you can help raise awareness:
Learn about ASD. Read through the posts here at Autism/Aspergers at Health Central. Visit the sites of reputable autism organizations such as the Autism Society or Autism Speaks, to find out what autism is and how it impacts a child. Read blogs written by parents to find out how parents cope with the many challenges raising a child with autism brings and how they celebrate the uniqueness of their child.
Participate in Walk Now for Autism Speaks. This is a grassroots program to raise awareness as well as fundraise for autism research. Walks are held throughout the U.S. and Canada and organized by volunteers. You can find a walk in your area at Autism Speaks. Consider asking friends, neighbors and relatives to sponsor you in order to help fundraise.
Keep up with what is happening legislatively on both the state and federal level at Vote 4 Autism. Existing laws as well as future legislation will have an impact on those with autism. You can find out about what is going on as well as how to contact your legislators to let them know what you think.
Become a member of a nationwide autism organization such as the Autism Society or Autism Speaks. National organizations offer education and advocacy for individuals and families coping with autism. Becoming an member of one of these organizations helps all people affected by ASD.
Organize an awareness event at your child’s school. Parents, teachers and other students all need to understand autism. Events can be organized through the parent-teacher organization or with your school administration. The organization Autism Speaks has lots of great ideas for hosting an awareness event at your school or in your community. You can ask parents, teachers and other family members to hold informative sessions on what autism is, how it impacts the child and how other students (or parents) can help.
The more you learn about autism, the more you can speak up when someone has a question or if you notice someone providing inaccurate information. Speak up to help those who have trouble communicating for themselves.
Published On: December 26, 2012