Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd!
Autism Speaks hopes to raise awareness and show support to those affected by Autism with their Light It Up Blue campaign. World Autism Awareness Day takes place on April 2nd. Iconic landmarks and buildings around the world will be aglow with blue lights, including the Empire State Building, the New York Stock exchange, Niagara Falls, the Sydney Opera House, and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, just to name a few.
Check out the pictures and take the pledge here-
Join us in helping shine a light on Autism, in order to raise awareness of this epidemic.
Home Depot is a great place to buy your bulbs…$1 from the sale of every specially marked blue light bulb sold between March 15, 2012 – December 31, 2012 will be donated to Autism Speaks. The entire month of April is Autism Awareness month, so our family uses the blue light bulbs all month long, in honor of our two sons diagnosed with autism. Seeing the blue lights around town can make a difference to families affected by this lifelong, incurable disorder. It certainly does to our family! Wearing blue clothing in April is another way to show support. The Autism Speaks website has some great items, such as shirts, baseball caps, and car magnets to purchase in order to raise awareness. Autism Speaks Website
There are also Light It Up Blue Campaign kits for homes, schools, and businesses. Light it up Blue
Just how widespread is the incidence of Autism? Check out these incredible statistics…
-More children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined!
-1 in 88 children are on the Autism spectrum.
– An estimated 1 out of 54 boys is diagnosed with Autism.
-Autism Spectrum Disorder affects an estimated 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide.
The prevalence of Autism is astounding, so chances are, you know of someone affected by it. As a parent, upon hearing those words, “Your child has Autism”, life will never be the same. It’s overwhelming. Experiencing different stages of grief is common. Seeing your child struggle is like having your heart broken again and again. The social and communication difficulties common in Autism can make families feel isolated and rejected. Playdates with typical children serve as painful reminders of what might have been without Autism.
Autism awareness is important for several reasons. Our society has a growing population of people on the Autism Spectrum that will require support. Awareness leads to earlier diagnosis in young children, which makes early intervention possible. Although Autism has no known cure, there are many types of therapy to help individuals on the spectrum. The earlier these are implemented, the better the outcome.
Research now suggests that children as young as 1-year-old can show signs of autism.
For a parent, these are the “red flags” that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path.
-No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
-No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
-No babbling by 12 months
-No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
-No words by 16 months
-No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
-Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
In our family’s case, everything seemed fine until around age 2. The odd symptoms that we noticed included lack of eye contact, lack of response when we called their names, spinning objects, hand flapping, and fixating on odd things, such as ceiling fans. Speech delays and stalling in language progress/vocabulary expansion were other concerns.
Social challenges, communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors are the three components or cluster of symptoms that define Autism. In many cases, fine-motor/gross-motor skills are impaired. There are often sensory issues as well. We experience the world through our conscious senses-sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. There are also unconscious senses – proprioceptive (awareness of one’s body in space/ joints, muscles, and bones) and vestibular (balance and movement/inner ear) systems, which are often affected, leading to problems with sensory integration. Sensitivities to sounds, lights, and textures are common in cases of Autism. One’s perception is one’s reality, so all aspects of life are affected for these individuals. The world can be an overwhelming, confusing place for them.
Autism is so complex, with such an enormous amount of information to sift through, it’s impossible to do more than scratch the surface in one article. Autism has been an ever-present part of my life for the past 7 years now (my boys are 9 and 5 years old), and to be honest, it’s a lot to keep up with. At times, our family just does well to get through the day! There are plenty of resources out there though. Check us out on the TBB website, and send us your comments. I’d love to answer any questions/concerns and help in any way, if you are new to the Autism community. If I don’t have the answer, I probably know someone who does. Autism moms are a fierce, loyal bunch. The Autism community is a wonderful source of support for newly diagnosed families.
My hope is that patience,understanding, kindness, and acceptance will grow for families living with Autism. So please, Light It Up Blue on April 2nd and show your support! Thanks!