Today is World Autism Awareness Day
Every year, autism organizations around the world commemorate World Autism Awareness Day.
The goal of the day is to bring awareness to this often misunderstood disorder.
Did you know that autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States? It costs a family, on average, $60,000 per year per child with autism. However, autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.
The number of school-age children with autism is only rising. A new government survey of parents indicates one in 50 school-age children has autism. It is even more common in South Korea, where an Autism Speaks survey found that one in 38 kids has autism.
Among the newest findings, many children were being diagnosed with autism after the age of seven, which is a problem because intervention should begin much earlier. Research confirms that appropriate screening can determine whether a child has autism as early as one year of age. Since each child develops differently, however, learning disabilities are often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
One of the most important things a parent or caregiver can do is learn the early signs of autism. They include:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
- No babbling by 12 months.
- No words by 16 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
Currently, there is not a medical test that can diagnose autism, but specially trained physicians and psychologists administer autism-spectrum behavioral evaluations to see if your child is on that spectrum.
There is also no cure for autism, but there is therapy that can help a child progress in their communication skills.
While businesses and organizations around the world are getting involved with World Autism Awareness Day, so are groups right here in the Local 6 area.
- Kirschhoff's Bakery in Paducah is selling cookies, while Pizza Pro in Murray has a special on berry strombolis. They are both donating a portion of their proceeds.
- If you're in Mayfield, stop by Cheers Food and Fuel. They're using their "Pump of the Month" to donate as well.
- Etcetra Coffee House will donate a portion of the sales from their blueberry and blackberry teas and smoothies.
- If you can make to the Maiden Alley Cinema on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., you'll want to be there. They are teaming up with the Center for Accessible Living, Easter Seals West Kentucky and Autism Group Feat to bring a new feature documentary called Wretches and Jabberers. It chronicles the world travels of disability rights advocates in a quest to change people's attitudes about the intelligence and abilities of people with autism.
- If you're near Mid-Continent University, they will join landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building to turn the sky blue. All campus light bulbs will be blue tonight, and there will be banners throughout the campus.
Check out the video to see more on autism and World Autism Awareness Day.