Tuesday, April 1, 2008

world autism day: boston

good morning, folks.

did you realize that 1 in 150 children (and 1 in 94 boys) are unable to say "good morning" without intervention because of autism?

tomorrow, april 2nd, is the very first world autism awareness day. according to autismspeaks.org:

"On December 18, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 62/139 declaring April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions.

The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges."

for those of you who have read my entries before, you know children with autism and their families hold a very special place in my heart. and with more and more children being affected by this disease every year, more than likely you personally will know someone who is impacted by it.

here are some more tidbits of info from www.worldautismawarenessday.org:
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the world
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with diabetes, cancer, & AIDS combined
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes
  • Autism does not discriminate by geography, class, or ethnicity
so, you rightly ask, "what can i do?"

firstly, get edumacated. check out www.worldautismawarenessday.org and www.autismspeaks.org. talk with people in the field of education as well as in hospitals. find families impacted by autism and learn how their lives are affected by it.

then, get involved. here in massachusetts, there are two specific ways you can get on your feet for autism:

The LADDERS program in Boston, MA is organizing a movie screening of "Mozart and Whale" on April 2 based on the biography of Jerry Newport at the Belmont Movie Theater (376 Trapelo Road in Belmont, MA). The movie will be followed by a panel discussion that includes: Dr. Margaret Bauman, Child Neurologist, Director of LADDERS; Stephen Shore, Ed.D, author of "Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome;" and Sheldon Wagner, Ph.D, Behavioral Psychologist. The film will begin at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, April 2.

Also, in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day, chefs from around the country have agreed to help raise awareness and funds for autism by promotions and events on April 2. In Boston, Chef Ken Oringer from KO Prime is participating, and this special benefit dinner will begin at 7:00 pm. For reservations or more information, please call 617-772-0202 or visit their website. KO Prime is located within the Nine Zero Hotel at 90 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts.

so, there you go. get edumacated. get involved. get on your feet.

image courtesy of www.sabrihakim.com


John R said...

Look at all the colours!

Krystle said...

Thanks Hannah, I do feel edumacated!

Casey said...

Read this article on a woman in China with an autistic son who felt so desperate she considered killing herself and her son:

Parenting a child with autism (China)

So sad - it's a difficult journey for sure.

hannah said...

most definitely... it's a lifelong disease, and many parents worry about what happens when they pass on and leave their children behind.

fyi: families with children with autism tend to say "a child with autism" in lieu of "an autistic child" because they don't want "autism" to define their child (i.e. be the first and most significant identifying characteristic of their child).

John R said...

Last week on 20/20 or some other nightly news cast they were discussing a method of treating autism that i think was called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), but I'm not sure. The main point to the news cast was that the secessions are highly intensive and therefore very costly. So, advocates of this method are trying to get health care companies to increase the amount they cover. I guess the intensive and repetitive teaching classes make a huge difference.

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Casey said...

UncommonBostontonian at BostonNOW has an interesting view of autism - she takes offense at the categorization of autism as a disease: Autism is not a disease

The language we use to describe ourselves and others is powerful, and can transmit a lot more meaning than perhaps we originally intended.

hannah said...

i totally hear that. i just used some of the wordage from the worldaustismawarenessday.org website which refers to autism as both a disease and developmental disorder. I checked dictionary.com and saw that autism technically could be categorized as a disease, but as someone who has not been diagnosed with autism or any other disorder/disease, i'm completely unaware of the stigma and negative connotations associated with such wording. thank you, uncommonbostonian, for your education.

also, i tend to work primarily with children, but i do fully recognize the existence of adults diagnosed with a disorder within the autism spectrum. but again, thank you for bringing your invaluable perspective to our blog so that we can more accurately and completely raise the public's awareness of autism. we are on your side...