The New Numbers & How You Can Advocate {Autism Awareness Month}

by GfG on April 2, 2014 · 1 comment

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Today is World Autism Awareness Day and April is Autism Awareness Month!  Light it up blue is the theme (#LIUB), which is a call to displaying blue in as many ways as possible and a puzzle piece is the current symbol for autism, hence the uber cool graphic.

autism-awareness

We will be wearing blue today in honor of the many children in our lives who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  I will post the photo on Instagram and my FB page later today.  If you are new around here, my husband is the director of a camp for kiddos with ASD.

Last Thursday the CDC announced the new prevalence numbers for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Want to guess what it is?

1 in 1,000? No

1 in 100?  No.

1 in  88?  No.

1 in 68.  Seriously.   And 1 in 42 for boys.    This is based on the CDC’s info and The National Autism Association has this to say:

CDC’s announcement of new prevalence numbers has caused some confusion. Please note that the 1 in 50 rate cited last year was based on parent-reported data of school-aged children through the National Survey of Children’s Health. Even though we feel the survey data (on the left) likely reflects more accurate numbers, CDC’s ADDM Network data (on the right) has remained their official prevalence number. A new ADDM rate is what was released today. This new rate reflects a frightening 30% increase in just 2 years.

Do you see that number?  (1 in 68 or 1 in 50, depending on which study you think best represents)  That’s astounding. With a number like that, our culture needs to get to know Autism Spectrum Disorder in a serious way. We need to learn about it, become familiar with it, and seek to find the cause.

If the number for blindness was 1 in 68, the public would cry out for study to find the cause.  I have to admit that I don’t understand the public’s shying away from addressing Autism head on, really.

Honestly, I think it’s because it’s scary to people.  And we don’t want to admit how prevelant it is.  And maybe we are scared “it could happen to us, so let’s ignore it”.  We do that a lot as a culture (just ask my friend Jan about how people react to a young widow, to hear a bit about that) with many different things.  We  held disabled people at arm’s length, actually, we hid them for centuries.

We just don’t like dealing with different.  Especially different that we don’t understand.

Hence, the need for Autism Awareness Month.

Believe it or not, this number affects you, unless you live in an incredibly remote cabin in the middle of nowhere and have no contact with the outside world OR you keep your circle of human interaction incredibly small.  I doubt you fit either of those categories. We used to keep our circles small, but that number still is greater.

Today and all through April, I’d like you to consider taking a few actions.

  1.  Read about Autism Spectrum Disorder to become familiar with it.
  2. Call your legislators (local and national) and ask them what they are doing to promote research and advocacy for those on the spectrum.  If you have never done this (called a legislator), I promise is is easier and less time consuming than you think.  Plus, you’ll fee incredibly democratically empowered.
  3. Pray for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder  to get the therapies and support they want and/or need.
  4. Pray for the parents of child with ASD to have a community that loves them.
  5. Start looking for individuals with ASD in your church or other  circle(s.) Ask the parents of children if they are getting the support and encouragement they need/want at church.  Consider what they say and pray about taking action.
  6. Learn and remember that each person with ASD is an individual and will display that in how their ASD manifest as well as in their personality.  Not all people with ASD are alike.

Next week, I will share one of the major safety issues for over half of the ASD community.  And how you can help.

The reason for Autism Awareness Month is twofold: That people become aware that ASD is a valid and important concern for our country AND so that people can learn about ASD, personally.

I hope you do so.

I am willing to bet (if I were a betting woman) that it will bless you and someone else if you take the time to become more aware.

What is one action you will take for Autism Awareness Month? 

autism-awareness 2014 Part 1

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