Autism Awareness

Yesterday was Autism Awareness Day. Wednesday April 2, 2014. I hope you all wore blue.

If you forgot, or didn’t know that is ok as this whole month of April is Autism awareness month.  So you can definitely wear blue another day this month :).

You can also support causes that support Autism. You can think about it and speak to others about it. All those things can and will increase awareness.

There is a lot to learn about Autism! Many people don’t know much about it yet, some don’t even know that it exists.  If they do they right away tend to think of a low functioning person with lots of outwards signs. I think that is maybe because that level of asd is what has gotten the most focus.

This needs to change! We need to learn about everyone that has autism.

I admit that before Juli was diagnosed I didn’t know a lot about it either and now I am making every effort to understand it as much as I can.  Many people don’t know that there are different levels of Autism. When I told people that Juli was autistic a lot of them looked at me like I was off my rocker.

But that is just it. There are different levels and she is high functioning. You wouldn’t know just by looking at her or even talking to her for two minutes that she is autistic. You might figure out that she has a speech delay but unless you spend a decent amount of time with her you won’t notice it.

That is the case with many high functioning autistic people.

Then you also have lower functioning people who have a few more signs.  Signs you might tend to see more easily.

Something else that is very important to know about autism. It affects each person DIFFERENTY. It is a spectrum. This is why it is properly identified as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  For example two high functioning people will not have all of the same signs or characteristics.  You can’t compare them.  I use high functioning as my example as that is the level I am learning about now so I am most comfortable talking more about it.

Juli has a friend. He is just about the same age as her. He is actually the son of one of my best friends. He and Juli are both high functioning, but they are very different from each other.  They don’t act the same or have much of the same characteristics.  They both have different issues.

This was something I had to understand when I started learning about autism.

I grew up with an intellectually impaired sister. She has Angelman’s Syndrome. So for me I learned from her that people with that disability tend to have the same characteristics.

Now I am learning that spectrum disorders are very different.

All I ask is that you take some time this month to learn something new about Autism and share what you do learn with others. Spread the awareness :).

Juli, Jp and I thank you.  I am sure many others with Autism would too.  So THANK YOU!

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