Many people use Autism Awareness Month to point to startling statistics. The incidence of autism is increasing steadily. It is now commonly believed to be diagnosed in one in every 88-91 American children. That number doesn’t account for the adults being diagnosed, or the countless people who may have autism or Asperger Syndrome, but have not yet been diagnosed (or may have been misdiagnosed).
Statistics are simply numbers. For those of us working to promote social insight and social effectiveness, people with autism are more than a number. Instead, they are unique individuals with their own hopes, dreams, interests, feelings, and abilities. They are children, teens, and adults, students and teachers, parents and grandparents, siblings and friends, employers and employees.
There are phenomenal people around the globe working to make our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities more open and responsive to both the strengths and the challenges of those with ASD. Innovative resources are being developed to help these individuals reach their full potential. Facebook, Twitter, and other means of social networking (in person and via the Internet) are providing opportunities for people to realize that they are not alone, but that there are others around the world who share similar experiences and can provide valuable information and support.
And even while so many people struggle to make sense of the causes, behaviors, needs, resources, and day-to-day trials associated with ASD, people with this diagnosis continue to have a profound impact on our lives through their unique interests, loyal friendship, genuine laughter, creative insights and perspectives, and so much more!
Best wishes as you continue to raise awareness of the many facets of autism, both during Autism Awareness Month, and throughout the year!