World Autism Day, observed on April 2, is a day that's dedicated to raising awareness for the countless people affected by autism worldwide.
Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder, is a complex neurodevelopment disorder caused by impairments that occur when the brain and central nervous system are developing.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says that due to these complications during development, people with ASD often show signs of social impairments, difficulties communicating, and restricted or repetitive behavior.
Researchers say the most obvious symptoms of autism develop between the ages of two and three.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 1 in every 68 children in the United States will have some kind of autism. And this number is on the rise, with an almost 30 percent increase in numbers of children with ASD since 2012.
In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared unanimously that April 2 was to be World Autism Awareness Day. Its first annual debut was on April 2, 2008.
The goal of World Autism Awareness Day is to raise awareness so the public can see that these individuals can have a fulfilled life, and to show that improvements are needed in the quality of life for autistic individuals.
Now eight years later since the UN's declaration, members of the international autism community and various autism organizations have sparked campaigns to continue to spread this awareness.
Autism awareness events and walks are held around the world by multiple non-profit autism organizations. The United Nations has continued its involvement, putting on events to raise awareness and help families with autistic members.
But worldwide awareness doesn’t happen in an instant. It starts with individuals communicating with other individuals and grows over time.
And it doesn’t stop after World Autism Awareness Day is over. You can keep showing your support throughout April because it is National Autism Awareness Month.
How can you help share and raise awareness this World Autism Awareness Day?
1) Help Light It Up Blue