The National Autistic Society celebrates Autism Awareness every April to promote awareness, presence and self-determination for all and assure that everyone with autism is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.
This year the society want to go beyond simply promoting Autism awareness by encouraging friends and collaborators to become partners in the movement toward acceptance and appreciation.
But what is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. Symptoms vary quite dramatically, but at first glance, some people with Autism may appear to have an intellectual disability, sensory processing issues, or problems with hearing or vision.
There is no known single cause for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but it’s generally accepted that it’s caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with Autism compared to typical children. Researchers don’t know the exact cause of Autism but are investigating a number of theories, including the links among hereditary, genetics and medical problems.
About 1 percent of the world population has ASD.
It can be hard to create awareness of Autism as people with the condition do not ‘look’ disabled. Parents of children with Autism often say that other people simply think their child is naughty, while adults find that they are misunderstood. However, creating awareness is important if it means more support is available, and people can live with dignity and respect.
The society aims to achieve the following:
- Implementation of the Autism Act in every local authority in England.
- Improvements to the commissioning of child mental health services for children with Autism.
- The needs of children and young people with Autism well reflected in the Government’s SEN reforms, and greater understanding of Autism in schools.
- Job Centre Plus to be more accessible to people with Autism.
- The reform of DLA to reflect the additional costs of living with Autism and Asperger Syndrome.
- Reform of the Work Capability Assessment to better recognise the barriers to work that people with Autism may face.
- To support campaigners and branches to fight cuts to local services.
Autism Awareness Week takes place from Saturday 2nd April to Friday 8th April. To learn more and help the cause visit www.autism.org.uk