Throughout the month of April, take notice when you drive through a neighborhood and see the shine of blue light bulbs. Without a doubt, you’ll see one at my house. Since April is World Autism Month, I’ve decided to let my front porch shine with support for autism awareness–and I hope you do too!
Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
Autism’s most obvious signs tend to appear between two and three years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as eighteen months. Autism Speaks encourages parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.
The “Light It Up Blue” campaign is meant to bring “light” to a condition that will impact millions of families across America. This campaign includes advocacy and support for people across the entire spectrum, throughout their lives. It also includes advancing research into personalized treatments for autism and related conditions.
That’s why in April, I’ve decided to “LightItUpBlue with Autism to raise awareness and show my support. This issue affects me deeply, as I have several friends who have faced a variety of medical and mental health issues frequently accompanied with autism. They include GI disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.
After experiencing autism with family and friends, I have a much better understanding of the impact autism has on families. It drives me to advocate for those I love and to help make positive changes for individuals with autism and for their loved ones. I encourage you to test your understanding of autism by taking this quiz!
If you’re moved to do so after visiting AutismSpeaks.org, please show your support for and understanding of the challenges faced by individuals with autism by sharing a photo to #LightItUpBlue for Autism Awareness Month too. Also, check out Autism Speaks’ nationwide calendar of autism-friendly friendly events and activities in April.