April 1st. A great day to start blogging for Mojomums. I think back to the jokes I have played in honor of April Fool’s Day, the teasing, laughing and joking. If you’re in the mood to play a prank on someone you know, April 1st is the day to do it.
This year, on April 1st however my focus is more serious. April 2nd has been dedicated as World Autism Awareness Day. A day where the colour blue will be used by hundreds of organisations around the world to help spread awareness through the creation of events, fundraisers and socials, celebrating the autistic community.
‘Celebrating?’ You might ask. ‘Quite frankly, what is there to celebrate about someone who is autistic? An Autistic diagnosis is horrendous. It’s a life sentence right?’ You may even go as far as thinking ‘it’s certainly not going to happen to my children or anyone in my family’.
Unfortunately, statistics released this month in the US state that 1 in 50 children are on the autistic spectrum. The why’s and the where fore’s that create this shocking statistic are being tackled by many researchers around the world but right now, I want to focus on World Autism Awareness Day by helping you to understand what autism actually is.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, sometimes referred to as ASD, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.
People with autism often have difficulty recognising or understanding other people’s emotions and feelings and expressing their own. This makes it more difficult for them to fit into social situations which means they find it hard to form friendships: some may want to interact with other people and make friends, but may be unsure how to go about this.
It can be hard to create awareness of autism as people with the condition do not ‘look’ disabled: parents of children with autism often say that other people simply think their child is naughty and requires stronger discipline, when really the opposite is true.
People with autism have said that the world, to them, is a mass of people, places and events which they struggle to make sense of, and which can cause them considerable anxiety.
So we know that every child on the autistic spectrum is different. We know that people with autism do actually want to interact with us but do not have the tools to do so. We also know, each and everyone of us that human nature makes us categorise and pass judgement on those that we don’t understand.
April 2nd is a day for education and acceptance. In honour of World Autism Day, take a moment to ask yourself one question: Do I know anyone who fits this description and, if so, what can I do to make a difference?
* With thanks to the National Autistic Society for the facts about Autism.
** For more ideas on how you can help raise awareness go to: