World Autism Awareness Day
Filed under: In The News
Odds are good that you or someone you know has been affected by autism. Yet there still are more questions than answers when it comes to the complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. New estimates show that nearly 1 out of 150 children in the United States are believe to have some form of autism.
In an effort to educate and draw more attention to this increasingly common diagnosis, the General Assembly of the United Nations has designated today, April 2nd, as World Autism Awareness Day. Events and lectures are planned worldwide, and CNN has all-day coverage on autism issues.
So far there is no cure for autism, but early treatment can help lessen the severity. If you suspect your child might be autistic:
Videotape the behavior you think might be symptomatic to share with your doctor.
Ask your day care provider or preschool teacher if they've noticed usual behaviors and to document what they have seen in the child in a letter for you to share with your medical provider. This makes it harder for the doctor to brush off the issue as an overreaction by a nervous new parent.
While not curable, autism is not a death sentence. Nineteen-year-old Tito Mukhopadhyay has autism and is nearly mute, but through a keyboard has been able to write several books and essays on what it is like to be a person with autism, including this poem:
I am he.
And I am me.
I am he behind that mirror
I am me watching the he.