April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Today recognizes and spreads awareness for the rights of people with autism, a developmental disorder characterized by behavioral and communicational affections that impact a person’s ability to navigate social interactions and also causes repetitive and restricted behavior. The condition typically starts during childhood and continues into adulthood. There is no better way to celebrate this day than by becoming aware of the characteristics of people with this condition and how all of us can do better to increase our own understanding and promote kindness.
The first historical appearance of the word “Autism” was made in 1911 by the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who used the term to describe a specific cluster of symptoms that were considered simple symptoms of schizophrenia as an extreme social withdrawal.
In that order, it was in 1943, when pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Leo Kanner characterized Autism as a social and emotional disorder in his article “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact”. In 1944 Hans Asperger published his “Autism Psychopathology Article” where he described autism as a disorder of normal intelligence children who have difficulties with social and communication skills. These articles were an important contribution to the studies that helped to classified Autism as a disorder separate from schizophrenia in 1980.
With the continuous investigation and research on autism, World Autism Awareness Day was set to April 2 of each year by the United Nations General Assembly to encourage member states to take action in raising awareness about people with autism spectrum disorder and support the research finding new ways to improve wellness and inclusion.
Finally, the notion of autism as a spectrum was developed in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” by combining all subcategories of autism and related conditions into one unified category, including varied characteristics, severity, and presentation of the symptoms.
Why Today is Important
There is no cure, but there are treatments!
Nowadays, there are many ways to treat autism spectrum disorders, but they can only be reached when the person is diagnosed! By becoming aware we can help others to get in touch with specialists and start a treatment that can increase their wellness.
Don’t try to change, start by understanding!
People with autism spectrum disorders have specific characteristics, behaviors, tastes, and ways to do things! The key is to understand their way to see the world and their performance without trying to make them change.
Adulthood with Autism disorders
There is no cure for Autism spectrum disorders! Once you get diagnosed it’s a condition for the rest of your life, and research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence can increase daily skills and reduce autism symptoms.
How to Observe
Share information online
Even nowadays when almost everyone has access to information, there are still many people that don’t know about autism and the characteristics of people with it. Become an advocate for the autistic community by educating the masses.
Get involved with autism associations
There are many people who either have autism or have a family member with autism and are a part of community-wide, nation-wide, or global-wide association. Get in contact with them to get involved in any activities planned for the day.
Take care of the people you know with autism spectrum diagnosis
World Autism Awareness Day is the perfect day to have a good time with your friends who are diagnosed with autism! Make sure to plan sensory-sensitive activities for you both to enjoy and pack gluten-free and casein-free foods to share.