Welcoming Autism Awareness Month

April 9, 2012 Prism Newsletter
By Tonia Ferguson

This month, in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month, Autism NOW is celebrating along with millions across the United States, and taking a closer look at how Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects the lives of many. As you know, ASD is a complex developmental disability that causes a wide range of social, communication and behavioral challenges. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (United States) released new estimates that 1 in 88 children in the U.S. has ASD. Autism is diagnosed in boys more often than girls and knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries. The new statistics about autism prevalence and the costs seems discouraging, but recent efforts in early detection and education intervention have shown encouraging results.

Relatives and caretakers of those with autism will tell you that it can be both the most frustrating and the most rewarding experience all at the same time. Dedicating a month to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder brings a measure of hope to often difficult family situations across the country. Lives can be changed by knowing the challenges faced by individuals with autism and their families; a greater willingness to build meaningful connections in the community will happen with greater awareness and understanding.

The annual celebration gives us a chance to highlight the activities of the center but most importantly to highlight stories that affect individuals with ASD and their families. We ask that you take the time to read at least one article or story about autism that may come your way during your travels this month. Start here with our e-newsletter. Read it and share it with friends, co-workers, even your social network friends/followers. Let’s raise the understanding so many will look beyond the disability. When that happens, more and more people begin to really understand what millions face everyday. It’s just not about awareness because so many have heard of autism by now; it’s about acceptance. Only through understanding can there be true acceptance, and with acceptance comes awareness.

Tonia Ferguson is the Director of the Autism NOW Center.

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