BY ASHLEY PERRONE
Are you aware that the month of April has been declared Autism Awareness month? Did you know that 1 in 68 children are classified with some type of autism? Have you heard that autism is five times more common in boys than in girls, and is found in all racial and ethnic groups? Chances are you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions.
Presently, there is no known cure for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research has yet to give a definite answer as to where autism even comes from. The children who are diagnosed with autism suffer from a lack of social, behavioral, and communication skills. Autism spectrum disorder is different with every child diagnosed.
April has been celebrated as Autism Awareness month since the tradition began in the 1970s. This month is used as a “special opportunity to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.”
This year marked the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd. The Autism Speaks organization started this day with the “Light It Up Blue” campaign in mind. Blue is the official color of autism awareness. On this day, and during the whole month, you can spread awareness in various ways with the color blue.
Many people will use blue light bulbs to “light it up blue.” Numerous countries will get involved in this as well, by lighting up their cities and towns with the color blue. The Empire State Building was illuminated blue on this day. Other ways to spread awareness include wearing blue bracelets, blue clothing, and even dying your hair blue; some people bake cookies or cakes and ice them with blue frosting. Blue isn’t the only thing that represents autism awareness; the puzzle piece is a symbol for it as well.
The most important thing to remember is that people with autism are no different than you and me. They are unique individuals who should not be treated differently. A majority of people with autism are high-functioning and can accomplish anything they set their mind to. Autism does not define who a person is.
I am sure that we all know someone who has autism. Autism has affected my family and has affected many others across the world. One message that I hope people understand is that anyone who suffers from autism can live a life that is fulfilling and meaningful. They can live, laugh, and love just like you and me.