Every year on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, prominent buildings and people across the world embrace the color blue to show solidarity with people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and pledge their support to spread awareness about the disorder. Newspatrolling urges its readers to sport the color blue this World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and lend a helping hand in spreading awareness about ASD, so that affected individuals can benefit from timely medical intervention. Your support for autism awareness will help friends and families of autistic people to cope up with the challenges brought about by this debilitating disorder.
World Autism Awareness Day, April 2
The World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2 every year. It encourages people, organizations, and governments worldwide to spread awareness about the disorder and also participate in fund raising activities so that financial assistance can be provided to autistic people and their families. This day was given official recognition by the United Nations General Assembly via its resolution A/RES/62/139 in the year 2007. Newspatrolling would like to inform its readers that the resolution underscores the need to improve quality of life of autistic people, so that they can take part in meaningful economic pursuits to become an integral part of the society, rather than being identified as a dependent community.
What is Autism?
Autism has been described as a lifelong neurological condition, which starts to develop during early childhood. It can affect any individual, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. As per the American Psychiatric Association, people affected by autism face issues across three broad areas: – 1) communication (verbal and non-verbal), 2) social interactions and 3) imagination. For example, not being able to respond properly to conversations, inability to properly understand nonverbal interactions and having difficulties making friends of their own age. Moreover, people with autism may become overly dependent on routines, may not be comfortable with changes in their environment, and may tend to focus intensely on inappropriate items.
Autism is referred to as a ‘spectrum disorder’ because the severity of symptoms varies from individual to individual. For some individuals, it may only be a mild learning and social disability whereas for others it may pose multiple challenges and extremely unusual behavior. The exact cause of autism remains to be elusive even when a lot of research is being conducted on the subject. There are indications that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible for the onset of autism. There is currently no cure for autism and treatment options may include behavioral therapies, medicines or both. The treatment prescribed also varies since each individual has a different set of problems to deal with.
Autism in India
As per 2014 estimates available with Newspatrolling, around 18 million people in India have been afflicted with this disorder. One of the main problems faced by autistic people and their families in India is the social stigma attached with this disorder. There is a tendency to create social barriers among the society, which curbs interactions and cuts out the moral support. Another problem is the schooling of autistic children. There aren’t many schools that have the expertise to deal with the special education needs of such children. Regular schools may be reluctant to give admission to autistic children and even when they may be admitted, lack of expertise in dealing with their special needs, may continue to pose a challenge.
Although autism awareness in India has improved in the last two decades, there is still a lot of work to be done. On the eve of World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2016, Newspatrolling urges all stakeholders including families, friends, autism support groups, healthcare providers, and government agencies to work together as a team to help autistic people, so that they can reach their maximum potential and live a life with pride and dignity, and if possible, financial freedom as well.