- World Autism Awareness Day is
observed on April 2nd every year
- The theme for this year 2018 is "Empowering
Women and Girls with Autism"
- Creating awareness about autism
can help the general public better understand and integrate autistic
people into society.
World Autism Awareness Day is
observed on April 2nd
every year. This year marks the eleventh
annual awareness day with
the theme "Empowering Women and Girls with Autism."
A resolution has been adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly in November 2017, drawing attention to the specific challenges faced
by women and girls with disabilities face and involves them in the policy and
decision making to address the challenges faced with autism
‘Globally, there is a severe shortage of services and support systems. Therefore, creating awareness about autism can help reduce stigma and discrimination, and integrate autistic people into society.’
Girls with disabilities are denied access to school
education and may not even complete their primary school. Women with
disabilities were found to have a lower rate of employment when
compared with men with disabilities.
"On World Autism
let us reaffirm our commitment to promote the full
participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary
support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms," said
Secretary-General António Guterres of the United Nations
Importance of Autism Awareness Day
Autism can limit an
individual's ability to participate in the society, which means that they might
struggle to find a job, a meaningful social life, and education, according to a
research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Families of those with autism spectrum disorder
can suffer emotionally and financially, as the health care costs
could be expensive. However, helping the caregivers emotionally and financially
can make the world a better place for people with ASD.
Dr. Gitanjali Natarajan, Ph.D, is
Head, Department of Clinical Psychology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences,
Kochi said, "The concerns associated with stigma often prevent parent from
getting the assessment done. These problems call for greater awareness and
accessibility for specialized services. There is also a need for increased
sensitivity among primary health care providers to detect developmentally challenged
children and refer them to the specialized services. Number of specialists and
institutions that are equipped to manage autism are very few in India. Parents
often find themselves directionless and frustrated when trying to access good
treatment and after care for their child with autism".
Globally, there is a severe
shortage of services and support systems. Therefore, creating awareness about
autism can help educate the general public that can reduce stigma and
discrimination, and integrate autistic people into society.
What is Autism?
Autism, a neurodevelopmental
disorder affects the normal function of the brain. It begins in early
childhood, i.e., it appears before two years of age making it difficult for the
individual to communicate and interact with others.
Autism is a lifelong
developmental disability. However, early diagnoses and treatment can help improve
the condition of the autistic child.
Facts and Statistics on Autism
- Worldwide, autism spectrum
disorder (ASD) occurs in 1 in 160 children
- About 1 in 68 children in the US
are affected by ASD
- Boys are four times
more likely to develop autism than girls
- Nearly 40 percent of
children with autism do not speak
30-50 percent of autism children have seizures.
Famous People with Autism
Autism has affected a large number of
people. There are many celebrities and famous people who had autism and yet
made their mark in this world. Some famous people who have had or living with autism include Albert Einstein, Michelangelo, Amadeus
Mozart, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas
Jefferson, Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg.
Causes of Autism
The exact cause of autism is still
unknown. However, it involves a
complex and variable combination of genetic risks and environmental factors.
Genes play a key role in the development of autism.
In families, there appears to be a pattern of autism. If one child
has autism, there is about a five percent chance of another child developing
autism in the family.
Symptoms of Autism
The hallmark of autism spectrum
disorder (ASD) are problems with social communication and interaction. The
signs of ASD include:
Diagnosis of Autism
Diagnosis plays a major role in the life of autistic children; early
diagnosis can help improve the
condition of the child and integrating them into the general society remains higher. However, only 50 percent of them are diagnosed on time.
Children with autism are evaluated
based on their behavioral characteristics, which is diagnosed during checkups in the first two years of life. A
screening test is recommended by the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and also advises the family members of the child to
screen for autism.
Treatment for Autism
There is no cure available,
but a few treatment options such as psychosocial interventions, medications,
education, and learning programs are available for autistic children.
Early treatment can make
autistic children's life much easier and help them become
self-reliant. Any intervention needs to focus on important aspects of
child's development mainly communication skills, social interaction skills,
imaginative play skills and academic skills.
How to Care for an Autistic Child?
Every child or adult with autism is
different and each of them require a different
medication or treatment because one treatment may not work for the
Dr. Mrinmay Das, Consultant, Psychiatry Department, Jaypee Hospital,
Noida observed, "Contingent upon their requirements, children who are suffering
from autism can receive an expansive scope of treatments. Generally, the
treatment incorporates a mix of behaviour therapy, speech-language therapy,
social skills training and sometimes feeding therapy."
In addition, physical therapy can help
improve motor skills; occupational therapy can help them to learn or enhance
basic life skills and other therapies might be essential.
On this World Autism Awareness Day
2018, let's be part of the awareness campaign and encourage everyone
take the necessary measurements and to accept the people with autism without
any stigma or discrimination.
- World Autism Awareness Day 2 April - (http://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/index.shtml)
- Facts about Autism - (https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/facts-about-autism)
- Autism - Facts And Statistics - (http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/)
- About Autism - (http://www.autism.org.uk/about.aspx)