World Autism Awareness Week and World Autism Awareness Day (2 April)
World Autism Awareness Week takes place this year from Monday 30 March to Sunday 5 April.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. A person with autism experiences their surroundings differently to others, which can impact their communication skills and their ability to relate to others. Autism is a spectrum condition meaning that while all autistic people share certain characteristics, they can experience the condition in different ways. People from all nationalities and cultural, religious and social backgrounds can have autism, although it appears to affect more men than women. In 2020 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and an estimated one-third of people with autism are nonverbal.
World Autism Awareness Week and World Autism Awareness Day (2 April) aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism and others living with autism face every day. Helping us all become more aware of the characteristics of people with this condition and how all of us can do better to increase our own understanding and promote kindness.
This week normally sees a planned number of activities and initiatives all aimed to spread awareness and increase acceptance of those living with Autism. Schools normally have an abundance of lessons planned to focus on Autism, on being kind, learning about how we’re the same, and how we’re different, and generally understanding autism better.
However, for reasons that do not need to be explained (COVID-19) a lot of those plans will now have to be put on hold. Yet, with the changes we’ve already seen in recent weeks to society, it’s now more important than ever that we continue to raise awareness about autism and find new ways to support autistic people and their families.
To mark Autism Awareness Week, we have chosen to share our newest Case Study with you – a wonderful new music garden and play area created in the Morgan Autism Center in San Jose California. This bright and colorful outdoor music garden was designed and created by Specified Play Equipment Company™ (SPEC) who worked alongside Executive Director of the Morgan Austim Center Brad Boardman, who wanted to create a musical garden and playspace following extensive research into the benefits of music and how it can 'open up an alternate avenue for communication'.
This echoes the research we carried out when writing our White Paper: Sounds and The Spectrum: The Benefits of Music for Autistic Children.
For many autistic people and their families, it is difficult to cope with the changes and impact coronavirus has made to daily lives. The National Autistic Society has created some Handy Tips to help during this time of uncertainty - please share these with anyone you know who may benefit.