April 2nd of every year is set aside so children, teens, and adults with autism can bring awareness of their disorder to the world. Many events globally on this day allow for everyone whose lives are touched in some way by autism to come together for support and enjoy each other’s company. Many find it comforting to know just how many others are struggling with the difficulties of having a loved one with this disorder. The many daily challenges parents have seem to disintegrate when the families find comfort in each other.
Local chapters of Autism Speaks sponsor the activities which have been wonderfully promoted and fiscally supported in the communities they reside in. New therapies, new treatments, new studies and even new findings on the causes of autism are shared at these local and international gatherings for Autism Awareness Day. It has become such a huge success that Autism Awareness Day has recently become official, so that all the efforts of the parents of these amazing kids can be recognized.
If parents and friends of families dealing with autism can’t attend the events on Autism Awareness Day, the postings for other events as well as what is discussed and learned at major events is found on the Autism Speaks website. Parents can find a lot of helpful information and very useful resources here too.
Autism walks are part of the festivities. Donations are collected, much in the same way they would be for breast cancer walks or Jump Rope For Heart. Then walkers have to walk a specified distance to show their support. Donations can be made directly without walking. Go to www.walknowforautismspeaks.org and click on, “Make A General Donation”.
Toys R Us, an international toy chain, gets in on the action too. Every Feb, March and April, the toy store collects donations from shoppers for Autism Speaks and presents the non-profit with a very large check on April 2nd to help with any and all costs associated to the awareness, testing/ screening, treating and clinical research for autism. A very valiant gift from a company that understands children, Toys R Us does its own part to make everyone aware at the checkouts this time of the year.
The Autism Society of America has been creating its own awareness since the early seventies by promoting Autism Awareness Month. Their activities have spawned several more autism societies and awareness groups in the last forty some years. They also have a website on which they post everything related to autism and the events and activities going on during Autism Awareness Month.
It’s important to note that both the day and the month for Autism Awareness aren’t just about autism or those that have the disorder. It’s about the families and the friends. It’s about educating a public and reaching out to those that don’t know much about autism and teaching them everything there is to know and how to accept people with autism for their uniqueness and not in spite of or despite the disorder. With the changing diagnostics for disorders on the spectrum beginning in the DSM IV 2013, due out next year, it’s more important than ever that awareness goes from awareness to knowledge and understanding. The more people that know and get involved the more likely it is that autism research can find a cause, if not a cure. Even so, most parents will tell you they would never change their autistic child if a cure was found; they just would like to know what caused it so they can explain it to their children or to others.