April is Autism Awareness month. My family is participating in a world wide campaign to raise awareness-http://www.lightitupblue.org/

On the evenings of April 1 and 2, 2011, prominent buildings across North America and the world — including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CNN Tower in Toronto, Canada — will turn their lights blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2.

So what is Autism? Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD).

Autism affects the way a child perceives the world and makes communication and social interaction difficult. The child may also have repetitive behaviors or intense interests. Symptoms, and their severity, are different for each of the affected areas – Communication, Social Interaction, and Repetitive Behaviors. A child may not have the same symptoms and may seem very different from another child with the same diagnosis. It is sometimes said, that if you know one person with autism; you know one person with autism.

The symptoms of autism typically last throughout a person’s lifetime. A mildly affected person might seem merely quirky and lead a typical life. A severely affected person might be unable to speak or care for himself. Early intervention can make extraordinary differences in a child’s development. How a child is functioning now may be very different from how he or she will function later on in life.

Chances are you know someone affected, considering how prevalent it has become.

Autism affects 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys. 1 in 70!! I can’t even wrap my head around that. It’s shocking!

Did you know …

-Autism prevalence figures are growing
-More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
-Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
-Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
-Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
-Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
-There is no medical detection or cure for autism
-A diagnosis is based on observed behavior and educational and psychological testing.

Prevalence vs. Private Funding

Leukemia: Affects 1 in 1,200 / Funding: $277 million
Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 100,000 / Funding: $162 million
Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 300 / Funding: $394 million
Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $156 million
Autism: Affects 1 in 110 / Funding: $79 million
The discrepancy of funding shows that the powers that be are not doing enough. How much worse is it going to get before our children get the help they deserve? Our future is slipping away with these kids!

If you’re interested in learning more, here is a good starting point –http://www.autismspeaks.org/

I hope to share more with you during the month of April about Autism…what it’s like to deal with everyday, going through the process of diagnosis, treatment options, education, as well as answer any questions that you might have.

Please show your support and wear blue tomorrow, and light your porch lights with blue bulbs. You just might make someone’s day. Always nice to know people care! ;)