World Autism Awareness Week; 29th March-4th April 2021

World Autism Awareness Week; 29th March-4th April 2021

World Autism Awareness Week – a week dedicated to raising awareness of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) so that we can foster acceptance and promote understanding in the community.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism is different for everyone and each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think and process/solve problems and issues varies considerably. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently. 

Many people who have milder forms of autism go undiagnosed until adulthood. Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues. 

A diagnosis of autism is an important turning point in a long journey to understand your child’s world. Signs of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3; however, some associated development delays can appear even as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism. If you have concerns, get your child screened and contact your healthcare provider. 

The M-CHAT  – Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers ™ is a short and simple online autism screen that can help you determine if a professional should evaluate your child. If the answers suggest your child has a high probability for autism, please consult with your child’s doctor. Similarly, if you have any other concerns about your child’s development, speak to your doctor about screening your child for autism. 

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) on 2nd April aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism and others living with autism face every day. Activities are planned to further increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a growing global health issue.

Though everyone on the spectrum may have different experiences and needs, World Autism Awareness Week is an opportunity to speak up for the rights of all autistic people, and highlight the social, economic, health and educational obstacles that many autistic people face.

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