Get involved with autism awareness efforts
Autism spectrum disorder has the potential to touch just about anyone. The World Health Organization estimates that one in 160 children across the globe has ASD, while some well-controlled studies have reported that figures are substantially higher than that.
ASD affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, meaning just about any family can be affected.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its biennial update of autism's estimated prevalence among the nation's children. The update was based on analysis of medical records, and where available, educational records of eight-year-old children from 11 monitoring sites across the United States. In a two-year period, the new estimate indicated a 15 percent increase in ASD prevalence.
Understandably, anyone who has been affected by ASD wants to learn more about what individuals can do to advocate for high quality services for those with ASD. The autism information group Autism Speaks says more work is needed to understand the increased prevalence and the complex medical needs that often accompany ASD. There are many different and effective ways to become more involved in the autism community.
Many schools have integrated classrooms where children who have ASD work alongside their peers. Others may have specialized programs for those who need one-on-one support. Either way, the goal is to introduce children to ASD when they are young, as many have friends or classmates with ASD. Helping to dispel myths about ASD and encouraging support and compassion can improve relationships during childhood.
Research into causation as well as treatment options and interventions for ASD can be expensive. That makes fundraising a necessary component. Individuals can participate in many organized fundraisers, such as walks, runs, rides, and other activities. However, enterprising people also can create their own fundraisers or ones unique to their own needs.
Those who do not have someone with ASD in their immediate family but know a relative, friend or neighbor with ASD can be a listening ear, a person to rally at events or advocacy meetings, or just a touchstone when a little extra support is needed. People who own businesses can support adults with ASD in the community through program's like the Organization for Autism Research's Hire Autism Initiative.
Autism spectrum disorder affects many different people. During the month of April and throughout the entire year, there are many ways for people to spread the word about ASD and support ASD research.