April is celebrated as Autism Awareness Month. In its 13th year, the entire month is devoted to raising awareness about this disorder.
Did you know that Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in United States yet is also the most underfunded? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 88 children is diagnosed with some form of autism- 1 in every 54 boys and 1 in every 252 girls. Autism is reported to be growing at a rate of 10 to 17 percent annually amongst children. However, what many are unaware of is the lifetime cost for a someone with autism. In addition to being one of the most underfunded disorders, it’s also one of the most expensive, having a cost of approximately $60,000 per year for a family with an autistic member.
Here are 7 simple things we can do to help support and contribute to those affected by autism:
- Learn more about all aspects of autism and the spectrum. Autism is an encompassing term used to describefive neurological disorders, and is most often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Take
time to read the current literature about Autism to expand your knowledge of this disorder.
- Host a fundraiser or make a financial donation to a non-profit organization that supports Autism research, provides outlets for individuals with Autism, or helps support families affected by Autism.
Some noteworthy autism organizations are:
National Autism Association
- Help a family who has an autistic child; make them a meal, have a conservation, offer to babysit and give them a few hours to themselves while knowing their child is safe. Simple gestures and making yourself an available resource can and will make a difference.
- Give your time and volunteer with an organization working for Autism related causes.
- Become an advocate in your state and work to improve education, safety and employment opportunities for individual with autism. State advocates work directly with Congress to ensure that funding is invested in Autism research and treatments. For more information, visit here.
- During Autism Awareness Month, many stores have teamed up with non-profit Autism organizations to offer a portion of their profits or allow you to donate to the cause. Be mindful about where you shop this month, here’s a list of stores that support Autism Awareness Month.
- Participate in an Autism fundraiser walk – Find a walk happening near you.
Most likely, all of us know an individual or family that is affected by Autism. If we work together as a community to support funding and facilities to provide help, we can make a difference with this disorder that affects so many members of our community. How will you help?