World Autism Awareness Day
I don't blog about autism much these days, but it is still part of our life. My own son was diagnosed in 1996 at the age of three. There wasn't much information back then and not a lot of media support. I'm so happy that has changed! I would have never imagined at that time that someday there would be a World Autism Awareness Day and that organizations around the globe would show their support.
For the sixth year in a row, Autism Speaks will be hosting Light It Up Blue on World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd. Light It Up Blue is a campaign to honor of people with autism worldwide like myself. Each year thousands of buildings are lit up and events are held to help with the campaign!
When my son was diagnosed, he wasn't talking (except to repeat movie lines). He had A LOT of autism (for lack of a better way to put it). Now, he is an amazing young man (age 21) who is highly functional and doesn't even like to be generally referred to as someone with autism. He is a high school graduate, an Eagle Scout, and is working on a college degree online. He loves to write and he has big dreams. He even has his own website. We love him so much and simply cannot imagine him any other way. He is an amazing person and we are incredibly proud of him.
One of the most important ways to help those with autism (and their families) is to take some time to learn about what it is. Autism is not easy to understand and it's important to realize that it is not the same for everyone. This link will take you to a great resource for explaining autism and finding more information.
I'm especially thrilled with the free downloadable pdf that Autism Speaks offers. I would have literally given just about anything to have such a resource back in when my son was diagnosed! The Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families of Young Children was created specifically for families of children ages 4 and under to make the best possible use of the 100 days following their child's diagnosis of autism.
What else do I want you to know about autism? So much! But most importantly, I want to share that early intervention is the most important thing you can do to help a person with autism. Get a diagnosis as early as possible. Get them in programs that will help them. School, speech therapy, occupational therapy. Whatever you can do. Then keep it up. Never give up. Always do what you can to help that person reach their potential. It makes a difference!