World Autism Awareness Day
April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day. “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. More than 3.5 million Americans currently live with ASD, and 1 in 68 children are born with a variation of it.” With this staggering statistic, it’s likely that you have encountered an individual on the autism spectrum.
Not just today, but the entire month of April is Autism Awareness Month. During this month advocated seek to raise awareness, understanding, acceptance, inclusion and self-determination for all individuals with ASD.
One of the most famous and influential individuals with autism is Temple Grandin. “Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson. She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience of autism. She invented the ‘hug box’ device to calm those on the autism spectrum.”
“Based on personal experience, Grandin advocates early intervention to address autism and supportive teachers, who can direct fixations of the child with autism in fruitful directions. She has described her hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli. She claims she is a primarily visual thinker, and has said that words are her second language. Temple attributes her success as a humane livestock facility designer to her ability to recall detail, which is a characteristic of her visual memory. Grandin compares her memory to full-length movies in her head, that may be replayed at will, allowing her to notice small details. She also is able to view her memories using slightly different contexts by changing the positions of the lighting and shadows. Her insight into the minds of cattle has taught her to value the changes in details to which animals are particularly sensitive and to use her visualization skills to design thoughtful and humane animal-handling equipment.” (Wikipedia)
Today and throughout this month, advocates ask that you promote autism awareness and acceptance on social media, and encourage community support and understanding for individuals and families living with autism.
Autism support groups across the country are working with businesses to sponsor sensory friendly events. Two of these are:
AMC movie theatres https://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films
Chuck E. Cheese https://www.chuckecheese.com/deals-offers/sensory-sensitive-sundays
Although Autism Awareness Month is a great time to advocate for understanding, acceptance and inclusion, it’s essential to advocate for children, and adults, with autism year-round. That’s what is in my noggin this week.
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