Autism Awareness Month is the time to empower autistic individuals

Autism Awareness Month is the time to empower autistic individuals

Elizabeth Conneely, Staff Writer

Every spring, the world comes together in the name of Autism Awareness Month.  Autism, short for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder characterized by a range of difficulties in social interactions, verbal communication, repetitive behavior, and speech that can be lifelong.

“In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Monitoring (ADDM) reported that approximately 1 in 59 children in the United States has been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),” according to the Autism Science Foundation.

Several different factors have been linked to the disorder.  For example, some children have genetic disorders such as Rett Syndrome associated with their autism, while others may have acquired the disorder through genetic changes and mutations.  The month of April is designated to bring awareness to those with autism and make a difference in building a better future for those individuals.

Many organizations provide assistance to families with loved ones affected by autism.  One organization that stands out is the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).  This is a non-profit organization run by autistic individuals for autistic individuals.  ASAN’s members and supporters range from autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends, providing an opportunity for anyone to get involved.

“The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to Autism.  ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities.  We work to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. Nothing About Us, Without Us,” said ASAN’s website.

The organization emphasizes the saying “Nothing About Us, Without Us” because they take no credit for anything not achieved by members of the organization.  Although this may seem like the normal thought process, many organizations falsely claim to assist those affected by autism.

Autism Awareness Month creates the opportunity to draw attention to the disorder and the serious effects it has.  This allows people to develop a greater understanding of it and empower more autistic individuals.

“It is very important to make individuals affected by the disorder feel loved and appreciated, especially during Autism Awareness month,” said senior Amanda Dalimonte.

This month also allows organizations similar to The Autistic Self Advocacy Network to educate others on the seriousness of the disorder.  

One of the goals during Autism Awareness Month is to recognize the strength and motivation required to live with autism and raise awareness to make advancements for future generations.   Many students within the Port Washington community excel regardless of their diagnosis.  Their families’ strength is a motivational force in researching the disorder.

Although Autism Awareness Month is a valued time to raise awareness and reflect on the accomplishments of those with an autism spectrum disorder, it is not the only time.  Every day is an opportunity to support autistic individuals and come together in building a kinder world.