EDITORIAL: Wear blue for autism awareness
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - 4/8/2019
April 08-- Apr. 8--April 2 was the 12th annual World Autism Awareness Day, a day designated to bring more awareness to autism.
Educating, whether one-on-one or en masse, remains a crucial task if people are to understand the disorder, but more importantly, to embrace those deemed different because they are affected by the disorder.
Facebook was ablaze in blue last Tuesday as people posted pictures of themselves dressed in all shades of blue in honor of a friend or family member who is autistic.
It may seem simple, but putting a name or a face to someone meeting the challenges of autism makes a massive difference.
We all likely love someone who is affected with some degree of autism. At the very least, we know someone who loves someone who is.
What exactly is autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
It causes deficits in communication and socialization, and children affected by it often have restricted interests and engage in repetitive behaviors like rocking or hand flapping.
There is no cure, but studies show that early intervention and intensive therapy can significantly lessen its affects
According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.
Fortunately for Northeast Mississippi, The Autism Center of Tupelo formed in October 2009 and opened in January 2010. The center has continued to make major inroads in helping young people with autism.
Most recently, Daily Journal writer Michaela Gibson Morris reported on the Autism Center's new BLAST program, designed to help older children and teens on the autism spectrum build the skills needed to help them live as independently as possible.
There are already 16 participants signed up for the program.
We applaud the Autism Center and the work done to offer a hand-up to young people and their parents.
We affirm the parents of young people with autism for their fierce advocacy of their children.
To all who are themselves meeting the challenges presented by autism, we pledge to help educate those who do not yet understand.
Autism Awareness Month continues throughout April.
(c)2019 the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.)
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