Organizations and individuals across the world, every year, observe April as Autism Awareness Month. Events are held to raise public awareness and educate local communities about autism spectrum disorders. The first National Autism Awareness month was held by the Autism Society in 1970. Over the past 50 years, autism has emerged as the fastest growing developmental disability, affecting one in 59 children in the US and creating barriers to employment and independent living. It used to be one in 2,000 children in the 1970s and 1980s.
Activities surrounding Autism Awareness Month have increased with time. The UN has marked April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. A resolution in this regard was passed in the UN General Assembly on November 1st, 2007 and adopted on December 18th the same year.
Participation in Autism Awareness Month activities
There are a number of ways you can get involved in Autism Awareness Month programs. Participate in your child’s school autism program or in your local community activities. Reach out to a local organization working with children on the spectrum and find out about the events they are organizing. If your local group doesn’t have any activity planned, you can create your own and ask your family, friends, and others in the neighborhood to support your efforts.
Fundraising and other work
Many non-governmental or private voluntary organizations and groups carry out fundraising activities throughout the month. Research the different options available in your area and check what is best for you and your family. Autism awareness walks are especially popular with members of advocacy groups, parents, and educators, among others.
A large organized group event may not always be the best fit for your family. Fun activities can be organized in a classroom or in small groups. Puzzle pieces are an internationally recognized symbol of autism and children enjoy doing puzzle crafts, colorful bookmarks, and picture framing.
Books about autism
Reading out books to your child is a great way to start an important discussion. It helps in supporting and spreading awareness about the disorder, particularly if the child is trying to come to terms with autism.
Social media outreach
Nothing is more powerful than social media when it comes to rallying support for a worthy cause. There are literally no limits to what you can accomplish if you know how to leverage the global reach of social media. Start a conversation about autism on Facebook or Twitter. Share your thoughts in online groups to spread awareness and promote holistic development of individuals with disabilities from childhood through employment.