Since 1970, April has been Autism Awareness Month. This spotlight has created opportunities to get people talking and increase support.
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the ability to communicate and interact. And it’s becoming more and more prevalent: In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported approximately 1 in 59 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with autism.
Early Diagnosis Changes Lives
Autism is treatable. Although kids can’t outgrow it, studies show early diagnosis can lead to significantly improved outcomes.
Symptoms can appear in the first two years of a child’s life. Some of the most common signs of autism include –
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and / or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism. But not every child with autism will show all the signs. That’s why professional evaluation is key.
What Can You Do?
Raising awareness of autism is a big deal. And knowing where to begin can be the biggest challenge. To spread the word, you can –
- Talk about it. Meaningful conversations with other families living with autism can go a long way in educating others and yourself.
- Contact your local leaders. The more informed your elected officials are, the more they can do to help. Call, email or meet with a local official to let them know how important autism awareness is.
- Use your voice. No matter how you support autism awareness this April, your voice matters, so use it! April is the perfect time be heard!