April is National Autism Awareness Month, marked by numerous organizations to raise global awareness about autism, and the related research and treatments.
Autism is a general term used to described a group of complex developmental brain disorders. The Autism Spectrum is a broader group which also includes Ausperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and other specified or non-specified, but similarly characterized, disorders. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that autism affects 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys.
One of the most well-known organizations focused on sharing information and funding research is Autism Speaks. The organization’s blue puzzle piece logo has become synonymous with autism awareness. Their mission is summarized on their website’s history section:
At Autism Speaks, our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.
We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.
Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to our concerns and take action to address this urgent global health crisis. It is our firm belief that, working together, we will find the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Autism Speaks. It’s time to listen.
If you have a family member or friend dealing with Autism, spend some time reviewing the Autism Speaks website. You will find information about diagnosis, treatment, your child’s rights, and numerous family services. If you want to research autism, the site is a great place to start. It offers an overview of the science, clinical programs, and research inititatives.
If you are looking for ways to help, the website’s “Get Involved” sections includes numerous ways to give financially or to give time toward advocacy. You can help organize a fundraising event or participate in research. You can create a personal page and share your family’s autism story. You can find a local Autism Speaks walk event and register to participate.