First named by Leo Kanner in his 1943 paper, Autism is a disorder which can effect communication and social interaction.
Now known as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) it is diagnosed via a spectrum, with its most severe sufferers possibly being non-verbal while higher-functioning individuals at the opposite end of the spectrum can be very difficult to spot as they may appear only slightly socially awkward.
With over 700,000 people diagnosed with autism in the UK alone and still so much left to know about the condition this year brings in the 8th annual World Autism Awareness Day.
Designated by the United Nations in 2007, the aim is to raise awareness of autism at all levels, explaining the facts and expelling the myths, while raising money for charity.
In many regions the 2nd of April ushers in Autism Awareness week and even month, so it’s not too late to get involved in some of the great events available.
Light It Up Blue
One of the most famous and stunning events that you can see on the 2nd of the April is the Autism Speaks Light it up Blue campaign. Buildings all over the world, from homes and shops to world renowned attractions such as Trafalgar Square and Empire State Building are illuminated in a blue light to show support and garner awareness of the condition.
You can do your own part by dressing in blue yourself. Even just wearing a blue tie or scarf can be a great way to support the day and carry on the message.
Find out more here
The National Autism Society’s motto is “stand out for Autism” with the hope that bright and vibrate colours and clothing will help spread word with no better example than their Onesie Wednesday campaign.
Encouraging everyone to be sponsored wearing their onesie or pyjamas to work or school they hope to raise money and show it’s okay to be different.
Their onesie campaign has spread even further including sponsored marathons called Onesie Runsie and the onesie-in-the-sky, skydiving event.
Find more details and more events here
Ambitious about Autism are a charity that focuses on diagnosed children and through their school and college programs offer specialised education and support.
They plan to continue their social media campaign that they began last year. Simply send a message on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #Autismls and spread the word. Some of their supporters last year include Jamie Oliver and Stephen Fry so you’ll be in good company!
You can learn more here
With all the fun it’s easy to forget about the importance of the day. Each year the United Nations add one central theme that they hope to promote, for 2015 it is employment.
With reportedly 80% of adults with autism unemployed and with many people with autism having great skills in pattern recognition and attention to detail it’s important for everyone to know that autism is not a curse and can be a boon for many employers.
How are you supporting Autism Awareness Day?