World Autism Awareness Day Is April 2, 2013

Nadia Shanab | Uncategorized
10 Feb 2013

Being different doesn’t imply being inferior. It is okay to be different.

If you are a new visitor to my blog, I say to you: “Welcome, you came here on the right time, because this is a special article dedicated to summarize the topic of autism and try to raise awareness and advocate for individuals on the autism spectrum”.

If you are a returning visitor, I say to you: ” Welcome back and thank you for being a loyal reader, I hope you can participate in raising awareness in your surrounding and social network.”

The global community is better off with higher awareness. A wise person once said:

“Ignorance is the source of all sufferings.”

With the approach of the “Sixth Annual World Autism Awareness Day”, I would like to seize the opportunity to highlight some points through some questions and answers that you may use to raise awareness.

What is autism?

It is a neuro-developmental disorder, or a delayed brain development, or simply a different wiring of the brain.

What are the signs of autism?

Poor social and communication skills, having a repetitive behavior, and love for routine are the most common signs. Nevertheless, there are tens of other signs to describe autistic people. That explains why there are no two autistic people alike, and hence the term spectrum.

Is autism an illness or a disease?

No, autism is a condition, defined as a spectrum or a continuum ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), given the vast diversity of its signs and traits.

What causes autism?

There is no definite answer at this point in time, but the most suspected reasons are environmental and gentic factors or a combination of both.

Is there a cure or a treatment for autism?

No, there is no proven cure or treatment for autism at this point in time. However, there is so much do to improve the autistic behavior and limit the severity, to allow them to join the mainstream life. In some cases the signs of autism have even disappeared. Read this new article:

What is the prevelance of autism?

About one child in 88 is now born/diagnosed with autism in the U.S.

1 to 1.5 million Americans live with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

At what age can a child be diagnosed with autism?

Some researchers claim to be able to diagnose the condition as early as 12 months old, but the most typically would between the age of 18 months and 3 years.

What is the most important action parents should undertake if in doubt?

Early intervention is crucial in tracing the future of your child. Consult with a professional/lisenced health provider, start with your family doctor or the pediatrician. You may be asked to fill out some questionaries and the doctor will examine your child. You’ll then be directed to the next step, like seeing a develpmental peditrician.

Read my article published in the San Jose Mercury News about the early intervention

How can you participate in raising awareness?

1- You don’t have to have yourself a child or a family member affected with the condition to spread awareness. You could be a teacher, a neighbor, a health provider, an artist, or simply a human being feeling for other people’s concerns. More than ever before we are all encouraged to pay attention to this phenomenon.  The number of individuals diagnosed with ASD is on the rise (it has almost doubled over the last 10 year in the U.S.).

2- Besides, autism has no preference for a country, etnicity, race, socio-economic level, and it affects one girl to 4 boys. It affects fairly equally the entire humankind.

3- Familiarze people with the very basic signs of autism as mentioned above. Autism ranges form mild to moderate to severe, but the vast majority is not severe. In addition, individuals with Asperger’s syndrome–who are on the very far end of the spectrum– are considered to be very high-functioning and don’t always stand out.

4- Most importantly, tell people that they are people like everybody else with feelings, intelligence, personality, moods, talents, ambitions, hopes, dreams, opinions, and all the other traits of “regular” people.

5- Individuals with autism can even surpass typically developed people in so many ways. They are inventors, artists, professors, technical designers, engineers, programmers, and many more. They excell in some areas where typically developed people cannot. Learn more about Temple Grandin and Steven Wiltshire here: and

6- It has become a fact now that we meet them everywhere: in our families, among our friends, in schools, at work, in grocery stores…everywhere. They are part of the society’s fabric. Therefore, it is in everybody’s interest to include them, respect them, and co-operate with them.

7- Teach the children that we are all born different. Fortunately, it is okay to be different. Thanks to this diversity and differences we can complement each other and help make our planet a good place to live in.

8- Children in school should not tease or bully spectrum children. They should try to include them in their games, at the lunch table, in doing group activities. When children with autism fail to express themselves and keep silent that doesn’t mean that they don’t understand or not willing to communicate. Most of the time they are so enthousiastic to join the mainstream crowd and mix with them but don’t know how to do it. They need our encouragement. Instead of avoiding them talk to them.

The mission of my blog is to provide tips for parents and educators who raise and teach children with autism. But today the mission of this article is to encourage everybody to raise awareness about autism. It is simple: talk to your community whenever the opportunity arises. You can also share this article with your friends.

There is hope in the horizon! There is a huge number of researchers working and focusing on this topic. Given the increase of the autism population, researches and institutions are allocating more time, effort, and money to find the cause(s) and cure(s) for this condition.

Remind everybody that: Being different doesn’t imply being inferior. It is okay to be different.

nadia shanab

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