Since 2007, the UN has declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. The specific name of this day is World Autism Awareness Day.
World Autism Awareness Day aims to raise awareness among the population about the existence of autism spectrum disorders and the opportunities these people have for social inclusion. In short, social inclusion is everyone’s right.
One practice that has been associated with this day is to “light up blue” – which means to light up monuments and historic buildings in the countries with the color blue. The color blue is a symbol of support for autistics and their families.
In 2021, the theme for World Autism Awareness Day was “Lead with kindness”. Therefore, it covers two main axes for social inclusion of people with autism: education and employment.
World Health Organization (WHO) statistics estimate that 1 in 160 infants has some degree of autism spectrum disorder. However, this can be an underestimation, since the detection of autism is uneven across the planet.
What are autism and autism spectrum disorders?
World Autism Awareness Day also serves to deepen knowledge about the condition . Today, it is preferable to talk about autism spectrum disorders, rather than just autism.
These disorders are characterized by altered social behavior, deficiencies in language and communication, as well as repetitive behavior patterns. It is common for people with autism to seem uninterested in the environment and the environment, and avoid physical contact with others.
The disorder is considered a developmental disorder, as the signs begin early, before 3 years. One of the characteristics is that these symptoms will persist throughout the rest of the individual’s life.
The concept of the existence of an autistic spectrum takes into account the fact that there are different degrees of influence. One child may have a milder sign than another, and this changes their relationship with the outside world, and also changes the treatments they should receive.
World Autism Awareness Day: The kindness campaign
As we mentioned above, the theme for World Autism Day 2021 was “Lead with kindness”. This represents an absolute invitation to treat people with autism spectrum disorders with constant empathy. The truth is that we can show kindness in all areas of society, including learning and work.
In this sense, distance activities have provided wonderful opportunities so that this valuable group of individuals can be included in actions with different social guarantees. In other words, environmental effects due to changed social behavior can be made bearable without direct contact.
Therefore, friendly inclusion means greater opportunities and the use of innovation to adjust certain tasks for those facing autism spectrum disorder. The goal of the campaign is for change to begin with individual reflection and spread to all corners of society.
To achieve the overarching goal of widespread goodness in every country in the world, World Autism Day promotes a number of specific goals that can be practiced to accelerate transformation.
The way to lead with kindness that Autism Speaks recommends is through direct support to people with autism spectrum disorder who are looking for work in the companies where we work. In addition, compliance with favorable public guidelines is ensured.
Learn with kindness
The kindness that the slogan for the world’s autism promotes also applies to learning. That is, we as a society must find a way to put them into an educational process that respects their peculiarities.
In the world, several pedagogical approaches have been developed for children with autism spectrum disorders. Some of them include:
- Floortime: Stanley Greenspan designed the floortime method. The basic idea behind the methodology is that the teacher or therapist interacts with the autistic child in the play and under their conditions. The educational concepts to be transferred can be included through play.
- TEACCH : This method stands for Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children. It includes education in an educational institution and the child’s home, and coordinates both environments, including the actual physical space in which the person must spend their day of education. In general, it involves creating a schedule for tasks.
- ABA : Applied Behavioral Analysis focuses on stimulating attention and language. It is used more as a method to support traditional schooling.
Get in touch with kindness
It focuses on expanding information from networks, which can be done by replicating heroic stories of autistic individuals, sharing effective treatment manuals and promoting an increase in the support community.
Care with kindness
In this case, specialized autism response teams can provide assistance, promote communication between autism communities to encourage support, and promote both hospitals and research networks to improve treatments.
World Autism Awareness Day: “I can work”
The organization Autismo Europa estimates that around 80% of people with an autism spectrum disorder are unemployed. This is a large number that complicates the quality of life of autistic individuals.
Fortunately , occupational therapy is an option used to favor the placement of low-functioning autistics. Low-functional refers to the patient’s reduced opportunities when it comes to relating to the outside world.
On the other hand, if the person has high-functioning autism, which means that they are able to interact more with the outside world, then there are other options. In fact, it is even possible to consider employment in ordinary companies.
Essentially, the most common support for these cases is the accompaniment of a trained operator who guides the autistic person in their tasks. This operator assists in the individual job and helps them in their relationship with their employers and other employees.
The progress of World Autism Awareness Day has been marked by each of the specific past themes in different countries. In the list below you will find examples of previous topics:
- “Autism Speaks: Listen to It”
- Autism Awareness
- “The forgotten half of autism”
- “Celebrating the Disability of Autism”
- “Open doors for inclusive education”
- “Employment: The Benefits of Autism”
- “Autism and Agenda 2030: Inclusion and Neurodiversity”
- “Courage, autonomy and self-determination”
- “Empowering women and girls with autism”
- “Aids, active participation”
- “I can learn. I can work ”
“Led with kindness”
The recent theme, kindness, focuses on the importance of raising awareness of how friendly accommodating, autism-friendly adaptation and social inclusion affect the lives of people with autism spectrum disorders.
How can I attend World Autism Awareness Day?
Donations, free therapy days and love signs are always good options to be a part of World Autism Awareness Day. In addition, there is the kindness campaign called Light It Up Blue .
This initiative consists of using blue clothing as a sign of support and understanding for this remarkable and valuable group. It is also possible to get the official Autism Speaks clothing, an action that will help raise money.
Finally, social networks are among the most important tools in the task of raising awareness of the problems facing the autistic community. In fact, tags like #LightItUpWithKindness and #LightItUpBlue with photos, as well as loving messages, are also useful.
Making autism visible
World Autism Awareness Day should serve to highlight autism spectrum disorders. The number of people affected by ASD is significant.
So if we fail to include these people in education and the world of work, we exclude many people from everyday life.
Final recommendations for World Autism Awareness Day
In conclusion, kindness is a very strong resource that we should not just limit to World Autism Awareness Day. We must rather show kindness throughout the year. This means extending it to those affected by ASD who are close to you both in society and at work to continue to develop their social benefits.
In the same way, you are welcome to become a monthly benefactor, be aware of all the activities that take place in your area, and volunteer work!