In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s.
The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. April 2, 2018, was World Autism Awareness Day, (WAAD) which aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism and others living with autism face every day.
As a growing global health issue, owing to its increasing exposure in the press and common knowledge, autism is an issue that is gaining more understanding. WAAD activities are planned every year to further increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults who have autism spectrum disorder.
World Autism Awareness Day brings attention to autism around the world with the Light it Up Blue campaign. This project will have buildings across the world lighted up with blue light. This includes locations such as the White House and Empire State Building.
A puzzle piece has become the universal sign for autism awareness. The puzzle ribbon was adopted in 1999 by the Autism Society. The puzzle pattern reflects the complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition.
These symbols serve as a beacon of hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and access to appropriate services/supports, people with autism will lead full lives able to interact with the world on their own terms.
Simpson County will put forth an earnest effort in shining light and educating citizens on the challenges that people living with autism face.
The public libraries and facilities such as Boswell Regional Center will plan events throughout the month to show support of individuals living with autism.
Here are some quotes of hope and other facts to share and raise awareness:
1. “Growth is never by mere chance. It is a result of forces working together” — Autism Treatment Center of America
2. "Mild autism can give you a genius like Einstein. If you have severe autism, you could remain nonverbal. You don't want people to be on the severe end of the spectrum. But if you got rid of all the autism genetics, you wouldn't have science or art. All you would have is a bunch of social 'yak yaks.'" — Temple Grandin
3. “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.” — Coach Elaine Hall
4. "Autism doesn't have to define a person. Artists with autism are like anyone else: They define themselves through hard work and individuality." —Adrienne Bailon
5. “Autism offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by.” — Dr. Colin Zimbleman
6. "Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in our nation." — Mary Bono
7. "What is important is to treat everyone like an individual and learning not to generalize autism. With autism, people make assumptions, but it's very broad, and everyone's so different. You have to treat each person as an individual." — Nikki Reed
8. “Children with autism are colorful — they are often beautiful, and like the rainbow, they stand out.” — Adele Devine
9. "The risks are far greater to your child of not getting immunized than any kind of speculative potential relationship between the vaccine and the development of autism." — Irwin Redlener
10. “The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see” — Barry Neil Kaufman
11. ”A child with autism is not ignoring you, they are simply waiting for you to enter their world.” — Autism Treatment Center of America
12. “You cannot save your child from their own feelings of discomfort that they are going to feel as they grow. Think of your job as a parent as helping them know that they cannot necessarily control what the world brings them, but they can choose how they are going to feel about it.” — Kate C. Wilde
13. "Autism is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by social withdrawal, by repetitive behaviors and by some kind of focal attention in its classic form. Basically, it's an inability to relate to others." — Harvey V. Fineberg