Raising Autism Awareness

Awareness about people with autism and their abilities and desires to lead rich, active, connected lives is on the rise. For example, thanks to an award-winning HBO movie, more people are getting to know Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin is an adult with autism. She is an animal welfare activist, livestock handling facilities designer, animal behavior professor, and one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in 2010. She is also a renowned autism advocate, helping people around the world understand autism and how to overcome the challenges it presents.

Saturday, April 2, marks the fourth annual World Autism Awareness Day designated by the United Nations. Decades of research and practice has proven what United Nationals Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon recently explained, “All children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives in society. To do so, they simply need great understanding and supports.”

The U.S. Department of Education maintains its commitment to education, employment and equality for all individuals on the autism spectrum. In addition to the 300,000 children on the autism spectrum receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and 6,435 individuals with autism participating in vocational rehabilitation programs, ED grants fund research, technical assistance, and family and personnel support to benefit those with autism and their families.

April is also designated as National Autism Awareness Month. We encourage everyone to spend time this month learning more about autism and the issues that are important to the autism community.

Alexa Posny, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

14 Comments

  1. I am trying to help bridge the gap between academic research and public knowledge by sharing reviews of research articles as they emerge. This includes topics such as autism, ASD, Asperger’s, etc., and more information is available at: http://researchbench.blogspot.com/ Thank you.

  2. What about adults with autism? My sister is 29 years old, and still completely autistic. She was diagnosed when she was an infant/toddler, and attended public primary schools. She was always kicked out, and eventually attended an autism specific school until the age of 24. Today, I see so much information about CHILDREN with autism, but not adults. The agencies that assist her, cannot place her in a program that actually assists her. It is really amazing that there is so much awareness now about autism spectrum disorder, but what about the ones that have been left behind, like my sibling? What is going on to assist them besides a mental institution?

    • Every Autism organization and all but one specialist could not help my young adult sibling with mild Autism because they only help children! The specialist, however, is more than we can afford, but since that is our only option in helping our Autistic sibling, we are saving up. Sigh.

      • This is so true. Once a person hits 18 the resources tend to dry up. My son is 17 and is in his last year in high school. We are trying to make sure that we plan for his future because there are not a lot of government resources once you “age out” at 18. My son has had a tough time getting a job this summer. He is not good at job interviews and he thinks that he knows it all in terms of what he has to say. A lot of kids with autism and adults who have autism and Asperger’s syndrome just simply do not understand the politics of a job interview. I am working with my son to get him to understand the basics –like how to dress, don’t fidget, look the interviewer in the eye etc. There is a great article on
        tips to help adults with autism get a job. But what is he going to do long-term? If he can’t get and keep a job, where is the assistance here? And there does not seem to be a lot of protection for adults with autism as far as being the first to be laid off.

  3. Hi,

    I am involved research, annotating scientific literature and articles about autism and aspergers. Even though it’s still not clear what genetic and molecular mechanisms stand behind these disorders, it is at least great that the government spends more money on this area of research…

    I think that continuous support for autism and aspergers in adults is a big issue and definitely needs to be addressed.

    While autism is the most severe form, aspergers covers the largest portion of adult population with ASD. In adults classical autism is about 20-25%, with 70-75% – aspergers… http://aspergers-in-adults.blogspot.com/

    Thanks a lot for your blog.

    • A big problem is that there are a ton of adults with mild autism and Asperger’s syndrome who never got diagnosed as kids. Where are they now? Most are either under-employed or unemployed. With the economy tanking, these adults are the first to be let go and the last to be hired. This in itself is a major problem.

  4. @ Cathy,
    Hi Cathy, my name is Miriam. I am separated from my kids’ dad for three years now and have 2 out of 4 children on the autism spectrum. My 5-year old is autistic and my 7-year old has Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia. What I have learned to be most important is to have patience, learn acceptance, and to have trust. With learning what you can about the uniqueness of your child you will soon see that through some frustration, tears, and even days of hopelessness, you will gain a new strength, a new way to see things and you will find out bthat your child helps guide you in his own way. There may be phases of progress and then there may be phases where he will regress. In either situation, try to think about how blessed you are to have such a unique and beatiful little boy.
    I found a quote someone with autism shared: ” I didn’t get this far by not being autistic”. It’s worth a thought. Hang in there, it may be overwhelming at times, but it is also rewarding. :)

  5. This article was very uplifting for me. I have a ten-year-old brother in the United Kingdom who has autism. He is my favorite boy in the world, my pride and joy. He is helped along by his five-year-old sister, and it is an amazing sight to watch her “take care” of Brenden. I appreciate that there are people out there who are advocating for kids with autism. Thank you for this delightful article! God bless!!

    • There is a fantastic song by Susan Werner called My Different Son. You can hear it on YouTube http://youtu.be/9NyXvdnPmxI. It is fantastic. I bought her album and I have this in my car. I play it all the time. She really captures the feelings of a parent with a child who is special in his or her own way. My son has Asperger’s syndrome and I love this song.

  6. I just found out that my 2 1/2 year old son is autistic and I am very confident that he will succeed. We are very fortunate to have the family and friends that surround us with love and support. I encourage parents to get thier children evaluated if something seems wrong. Early detection is the best way to help children strive for thier future.

  7. What is a public school required to do for a child with Asperger’s and an anxiety disorder?
    If the child does not function well in the regular ed classroom with an aid, then what is the next step?
    If the child has been diagnosed with Asperger’s and the testing clinic strongly recommends a summer program, can the child’s public school system be asked to pay for or contribute to the cost of the program?
    If any parent of a child with Asperger’s has some specific successful experience with a public school, please contact me.
    Thank you.

    • As a child (no longer; I’m 21, and in college) with Asperger’s and anxiety disorder in the public school system, I found it very difficult to the point of being unable to cope. I’m sorry to say that, because I know it’s not very reassuring, but I always did my best when I was allowed to socialize/interact on my own comfort levels (my therapists and mother pushed me, some, but by putting me in situations with other kids, not by forcing me to do anything — and they stayed around, so I still felt fairly safe). I mostly learned from books (I’m a senior level honors student double-majoring in Chemistry and Marketing, so that worked out well for me). I don’t know if it’s possible for you to put your child into a low-stress environment like I had the luck to be able to retreat to after first grade (I was homeschooled, though I still interacted with other children once a week in a co-operative learning environment), but any chance you can make towards that could really help your son or daughter. I don’t think neurotypical people realize, often, how stressful it is for us just to deal with the “normal” sensory information that crowds and schools generate.

      I would suggest talking directly with your disabilities advocate at your child’s school about help in funding; and remember, being quietly understanding/caring of your child’s issues with the rest of society is worth more than the best summer programs.

  8. Autism Awareness Month….I can top that MY DAUGHTER HAS AUTISM AND SHE WASN’T SUPPOSED TO MAKE IT THIS WELL THIS FAR. SHE MAY NEVER HAVE A TYPICAL LIFE OR MARRIAGE OR KIDS BUT I WILL TAKE HER OVER SOME OF THE SO CALLED TYPICALS OUT THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. hi,my name is cathy and i just found out bout three mths ago that my 4yr old little boy is autism,im a single mom and its really hard to find that out by yourself.he can walk and talk and his is mild to moderante but im seeing things that i never understood.im learning everyday but its hard to see him go through something and he dont understand why.its hard but its nice to talk to someone who knows what to expect and who has been through and going through.

    thank y
    cathy

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