By Melissa Chapman
WARSAW — World Autism Awareness Day is held every year on April 2. It is recognized by the United Nations’ member states as a day to remember the rights of autistic individuals around the world.
What is autism? It is a neurological, lifelong condition. It can affect anybody, regardless of gender, race or economic background. The condition consists of various characteristics, and the severity and presence of the characteristics exist on what is called the “autism spectrum.” One of the characteristics of autism is inappropriate social interaction. An autistic individual may also have a proclivity toward specific subjects or standard routines. They may have a different way of perceiving sensory information. Some of the time individuals with this condition are stigmatized and discriminated against, and this poses many obstacles for them in society. It is estimated that around 1% of the world population is impacted by autism.
World Autism Awareness Day puts a focus on the difficulties that people with autism face daily. The day also celebrates the unique talents of those with autism, while putting a huge emphasis on the warm embrace and welcome that these skills deserve through community events around the globe.
Designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms and realities of autism, the Autism Society focuses on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance and be more inclusive in everyday life.
Warsaw Community Public Library has a great number of books on autism. “The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drove Human Invention” by Simon Baron-Cohen is a groundbreaking account of the mechanisms underlying the related capacities of both autistic individuals and innovators.
“Dragonfly: A Daughter’s Emergence From Autism” by Lori Ashley Taylor is a parent’s guide to helping children with autism maximize their potential.
“Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life On The Spectrum” by Jennifer Cook O’Toole lets us know that the face of autism is changing.
While the day celebrates the stories and lives of those with autism, it is also important to remember that autism is a lifelong condition with varying degrees of severity. It is imperative to continue to support research for treatment and therapies that will improve the lives of those with autism. Speak out about autism to help eliminate the stigma associated with it. Use #WorldAutismDay to share on social media.