Monday, April 2, 2012

Autism Awareness Day!

My cousin and I at the 2011 Autism Speaks Walk
in Westfield, MA
1 in 88 children is diagnosed with autism. A few years ago, it was 1 in 100. Now, I know that occasionally children can get mis-diagnosed, and like with ADD/ADHD it could just be a period of time where autism spectrum is the go-to answer for a child who seems a little "off"--but this is still a high number, and it is a very real disorder that has touched my life in a very personal way, regardless of how common it seems to be becoming.

 It is a cause that is very close to my heart and I'm trying to get more involved in supporting autism research and raising money and awareness for Autism Speaks. I won't share my personal story in detail here since the person in my life effected by autism is going through a phase where he wants to keep that part of his life to himself--not something I totally agree with, since he is SUCH an inspiration and I love him dearly and think his story could help other people in the same situation--but know this: the sooner your child is diagnosed with autism, the sooner you can begin to help him or her lead a normal life. The person in my life was diagnosed at age 6, and though he is lucky to be very high functioning, who knows where he'd be today if he didn't get the necessary help. Thanks to teachers, therapists, one-on-one aides, and the parents he was able to overcome this disorder and soon he will be graduating college on time with his peers.

At the Autism Speaks walk, showing my tattoo.
(the traditional Autism puzzle piece is different, I know, but
I wanted mine to be unique)
Each person with autism is different. Not everyone will be so lucky, or find the exact blend of help that will help them to be independent and self-sufficient like this person in my life has. That is why it is SO important that we keep researching this disorder--how it starts, who it effects, how to treat it, if there's a way to prevent it, how to educate family and friends on how to nurture people who have it--so that someday the word "Autism" won't be something that strikes fear into parents' hearts.

And, just like Cinco De Mayo and St. Patrick's Day and every other holiday/event I try to commemorate on here... it totally slipped my mind until this morning. I even forgot to wear blue!--so I colored in my puzzle piece tattoo in blue just to make sure I had something. So instead of a blue ombre cake (I am DYING to make an ombre cake!), or blue cupcakes or scrambled eggs or something else I could scrape together and throw food coloring into to "light up blue" my blog, I decided to just make this little post.

Be educated, be aware, support the cause.




3 comments:

  1. I love that you're bringing awareness to this- thanks!

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  2. One of my cousins has Aspergers, although she has never been officially diagnosed, and it's such a shame because if my aunt and uncle would just stop resisting forcing her to get help (she's 24), she could be so much more high functioning. Thanks for bringing awareness to this awesome cause!

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    1. Yeah, we're really lucky we got help when we did. It was definitely tough, and my family does not have much money at all, but thanks to lots of hard work on everyone's part--and the affected person's willingness to succeed--he's definitely overcome his disability in amazing ways. He went from being very visibly autistic when he was young (hand flapping, avoiding eye contact, unable to be touched, humming/talking to self) to just seeming like a normal kid today, albeit just a touch awkward.

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