Friday, March 28, 2014


The faces of autism are all different and present many different challenges in the areas of communication, cognition, social skills, social interaction, repetitive behaviors, dietary/digestive disorders and sensory processing. These challenges differ in intensity/severity in each individual diagnosed with ASD and can affect many areas of development and daily living.

At this time, although research continues and reports new findings, we do not know the causes and therefore have no cure or effective treatment/intervention for all. Parents and advocates lobby everywhere and constantly for an increase in research to find answers for this disorder that affects so many. A major challenge with this effort is to try to get advocates speaking in a united voice when some feel they are fighting very different battles and not being heard. Just the question of "cure" divides the autism community itself, never mind the vast variety of treatment offerings. The latter being a need based on the spectrum of strengths and needs as well as the severity of the autism.

There are some very good therapies and strategies that can definitely make a difference. We know that early and intensive intervention for all areas of need is crucial and very beneficial. The added challenge is always funding for what is usually a great expense.

Today we read in the news that Canadian and American studies are reporting a 30% increase from the last estimate of 1 in 88 children having autism - today the numbers are 1 in 68!

If autism is affecting 1 in 68 families soon everyone will have first hand experience of autism among family and friends. My sense is that by sheer numbers we have increased awareness but still have a long way to go with improving on understanding and acceptance. Everyone can help. If you are aware, share what you know with others. If you are not aware ask and seek out ways to learn more about this disorder that could easily affect your extended family at any time soon.

On April 2, 2014 the world will celebrate World Autism Day. Some will light it up blue, others red and some gold! Whatever color you choose or not, shine a light on autism to do your part to help many with the tremendous daily challenges they face to provide the best for those they love who are autistic.

MY CHALLENGE FOR YOU is to contribute a comment here, asking questions to increase awareness or sharing an experience/thoughts/resources that will help others learn about ASD.

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