Embracing Autism Awareness this April and Everyday

April 22, 2019
By Samantha Elander

You may have seen the color blue a bit more throughout your community recently. April is Autism Awareness Month and blue represents a nationwide effort to educate everyone about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). When we better understand ASD, we can accept and appreciate people affected by it. The more we know, the better we can support them and celebrate their unique talents and gifts.

About 1% of the world’s population has ASD and 1 in 68 children in the U.S. are affected. Though it has become more common to know someone on the spectrum, it’s a complex condition to fully understand.

Autism Awareness

Dr. Melissa Hale does an excellent job in this video from South Florida PBS answering some common questions about ASD. Environmental factors and genetics may be influences, but as Dr. Hale explains, there is much more research that has yet to be conducted. She also touches on appropriate vocabulary to discuss autism, and looks at ongoing studies that could reveal key components of the disorder.

Navigating Autism

Focusing on communication, this school in Visalia, CA seeks to educate autistic students differently. Teachers and specialists place importance on improving language and social skills, which give students more tools to connect with their peers. During recess, autistic students are encouraged to practice their receptive and expressive language while they play with the rest of the student body. From Inside California Education

What a Tooth Reveals About Autism

How did stem-cells drawn from children's teeth help us understand an underlying factor of autism? Neuroscientist Alysson Muotri had a theory about autism and after gathering 300 baby teeth was able to discover new information about the disorder. In this video from BrainCraft, find out what he learned.

How Donkeys are Helping Kids with Autism

For a young boy, frequently visiting local donkeys has given him comfort and relief. NewsHour covers a story highlighting the importance of animal companionship. In particular, animals have been especially therapeutic for autistic patients.

Aging with Autism

At any stage in life, ASD requires adaptation. In this clip from Catalyst, men with autism confront the challenges of aging with a neurological condition that impairs communications skills. To understand the risks associated with autism and age, neuroscientist Blair Braden, Ph.D. is tracking their brain activities in a multi-year study.

How to Help Children with Autism

Not all children with autism are alike. Using a developmental approach, this article from PBS Parents suggests a few ways that work towards inclusion in schools and communities.

The Autism Society encourages us to share our experiences and stories using #standupforautism. While April focuses just on ASD, it’s a reminder of the varying needs in our community and how we can all do a better job of supporting one another.

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