Autism Awareness Month


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The entire month of April people around the world wear blue to support those with Autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that affects 75 million people worldwide. Autism causes a wide spectrum of differences in people’s brains. Autism Awareness Month begins on April 1 and ends on April 30.

ASD causes differences in the development of the brain. The conditions can cause behavioral, social, learning skills to differ than those who are neurotypical. The Oxford Dictionary uses the term “neurotypical” to describe a person who does not exhibit autistic or atypical behavioral patterns.

Some people can start to exhibit symptoms of Autism as early as six months old. A few signs of autism can be loss of speech and social skills, lack of eye contact, persistent preference of solitude, continual opposition of minor changes, limited interests, and unusual reactions the environment.

The General Autism Spectrum.

There is a spectrum to Autism, which pertains to how a person with Autism can function day-to-day. The spectrum is generally divided into three components, but autism is not limited to three different standards, it affects each person differently. The general spectrum describes each level as, level one needing the least amount of support, and level three needed the most amount of support. There are more factors that play into where a person falls onto the spectrum like, social differences, interests, repetitions, sensory sensitivities, emotions, and so much more.

When some people think of autistic or an atypical individual, the term usually has a negative connotation. Autism Awareness Month is a time to give back to the autistic community, celebrate them, and show them how much they are appreciated.

Autism can be celebrated a number of ways in different communities. For example, Florida Fast Pitch Softball Organization hosts an “Angels 4 Autism” tournament annually in Clermont, Florida. Taylor Ramsey, 13, plays in the Angels 4 Autism tournament every year, and says it’s important for athletes to come together for such an important cause. “The best part of the tournament is the opening ceremony where one person from the Autistic community represents each team and runs a lap in honor of themselves.”

Taylor’s 2021 Autism Awareness Ring

In 2008, The United Nations made World Autism Day April 2. This holiday was founded to shed light on the improvements and tools needed to improve the quality of life that the neurodivergent communities need to be able to excel at their full potential. In a pre COVID-19 society, the ceremony would take place at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Since 2020, the event now takes place virtually.

Just like how no neurotypical person is the same, no neurodivergent person is the same. Not every autistic person experiences the same things as others, which can be falsely represented in the media. Some common misconceptions with autism are; thinking there’s a cure, all autistic people have the struggles, autistic people don’t speak, people with autism are incapable of experiencing emotions or sustaining relationships, etc.

A part of inclusion and acceptance is understanding that every autistic person has their own way of functioning and understanding themselves. Although strengths and weaknesses with autism can differ, there are some common things that other neurodivergent people may notice in each other such as, social challenges, language and gesture differences, issues with eye contact, and extreme interests in specific topics.

WCHS celebrates Autism Awareness Month by showing inclusion to the special education classrooms. ESE teacher, Penny Ward states,” the best thing to help support Autism Awareness Month is to just be inclusive. Inclusion is not just including others in things, it’s recognizing that even though other’s may have differences, they are just as capable as a neurotypical person.”