In 2020, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In South Africa, although there is not an official board taking statistics on autism diagnosis, we know the numbers are very similar in our country. Autism is a global crisis.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society. Important to note is that the day is not a celebration but a day to educate and create awareness around autism.
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Early detection of the red flags to autism is essential to making the diagnosis in a young developing child as early intervention sets the stage for best outcomes. There is a need to educate all playschool and nursery school teachers on how to identify autism.
The book “Saving my Sons – A journey with autism,” written by Ilana Gerschlowitz sends a powerful message to professionals working in the field to discard your biases and what you thought autism to be. The message is one of hope!
It has become customary around the world to light it up blue on 2 April. Every year important landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London, and the Sydney Opera House are lit up in blue for autism.
In light of the growing numbers of the diagnosis, we would like to ask you to shine a blue light on autism and help us create an awareness in the community that autism is in fact treatable.