Today is the eleventh World Autism Awareness Day. Joined by the international community, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world, light blue in recognition of people living with autism. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place all month to increase understanding and acceptance and foster worldwide support.
World Autism Awareness Day
I have written an article a couple of weeks ago that already asks for more awareness of mental health, and with the World Autism Awareness Day, I again would like to spread some awareness. The previous blog was really focused on all the people dealing with mental health issues. Today the focus is a bit more narrow, as its only looking at Autism. In The Netherlands, we have around 43.000 kids between the age of 4 and 12 years old currently diagnosed with Autism. This number is equal to 3% of all the kids between those ages. Currently, in the Netherlands we do not have numbers of people older than 12. However looking at the international numbers we could assume that 1% of the people in The Netherlands has a kind of Autism.
When I speak to people about Autism people tend to only think about the worst cases scenarios. But Autism is much more than only people with heavy social, communication and behavioral challenges. Most of the people with Autism are just living their lives among the normal people, working hard to not get noticed and living a normal life. And there we also have the reason we need to spread more awareness. As long as people instantly think of the worst end cases of the Autism spectrum there is a need for information.
As said today is World Autism Awareness Day, and in many countries in the world today also means the start of Autism Week. Both intend to spread awareness about Autism. Below you can find 4 ways you can help create or spread Autism Awareness.
- To spread autism awareness, first, you need to be aware yourself. You can start with reading about autism from people with first-hand experience or reliable professionals.
- Social media is a great tool that can be used to reach millions of people from all around the world. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter can help you if you’re looking to share your story with autism.
- Some of the most impactful stories about autism are the ones where a non-autistic person shares how someone with autism changed their life. A lot of times people don’t know very much about autism but are pleasantly surprised when they meet someone on the spectrum and start to get to know them a little better.
- When you’re spreading autism awareness, remember to share the good things as well as the bad. Promote the achievements and abilities of people with autism instead of only focusing on what people on the spectrum struggle with or can’t do.
But please keep in mind that spreading stereotypes and misinformation about autism are NOT spreading autism awareness. If you’re unsure about something, look it up. Be careful about spreading viral videos that might give people the wrong impression about autism.
If you or someone you know is on the autism spectrum (or you’re just passionate about helping people with autism), there are hundreds of ways that you can spread awareness, from wearing your autism awareness shirts and autism awareness ribbons to volunteering or organizing events.