You may notice blue lights this month throughout your everyday life and wonder why. It’s April and that means it’s Autism Awareness Month. According to Medical News Today, autism is “known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person’s life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills. People with autism have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play and/or banter.”
Autism in our world, is just a brain wired differently. Ben has autism. We’ve noticed differences since the day of his birth. No kidding, the day he was born. But nothing was ever “wrong”, just “different.” Truly, that’s part of what makes it difficult to know when to seek assistance. Thanks to so many more than we could ever name, we have a diagnosis, with therapy, he has made progress and will continue to do so. It’s not easy, but different rarely is. But sometimes, different can be good. Because of autism, we are more patient with Ben. Those who know me know I’ve prayed for more patience for many years before Ben was ever born. Because of autism, we speak more quietly with Ben. Because of autism, we seek and appreciate the little things, something as simple as “I’m thirsty. I’d like some chocolate milk, please.” is reason to celebrate.
Autism is becoming more common each year. Current stats show that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism; 1 in 54 boys. And most recently, the Center for Disease Control released a report which shows 1 in 50 school children are affected by autism.
And so, my battle cry continues: Awareness, Understanding, Acceptance.
April is Autism Awareness Month. Tuesday, April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day. You can be sure, our family was decked out in blue for our Ben!
Autism Speaks published a list this week of ten important things we’ve learned about autism since World Autism Awareness Day in 2012. The fact that there are 10 NEW things since this time last year is incredibly encouraging to those of us living the spectrum life. This can only mean that research continues and we are getting closer to knowing causes, treatments, and in our wildest dreams, a cure.
Won’t you join us this month? If you’re not into the blue light scene, that’s okay. If you happen to see one, please take a minute and think of us and pray for Ben, our family, and all those on the spectrum.
Here’s that list of 10 new things learned since this time last year:
1. High-quality early intervention for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can do more than improve behaviors, it can improve brain function.
2. Being nonverbal at age 4 does NOT mean children with autism will never speak. Research shows that most will, in fact, learn to use words, and nearly half will learn to speak fluently.
3. Though autism tends to be life long, some children with ASD make so much progress that they no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for autism. High quality early-intervention may be key.
4. Many younger siblings of children with ASD have developmental delays and symptoms that fall short of an autism diagnosis, but still warrant early intervention.
5. Research confirms what parents have been saying about wandering and bolting by children with autism: It’s common, it’s scary, and it doesn’t result from careless parenting.
6. Prenatal folic acid, taken in the weeks before and after a woman becomes pregnant, may reduce the risk of autism.
7. One of the best ways to promote social skills in grade-schoolers with autism is to teach their classmates how to befriend a person with developmental disabilities.
8. Researchers can detect presymptom markers of autism as early as 6 months – a discovery that may lead to earlier intervention to improve outcomes.
9. The first medicines for treating autism’s core symptoms are showing promise in early clinical trials.
10. Investors and product developers are responding to a call to develop products and services to address the unmet needs of the autism community.