April is Autism Awareness Month and Autism Awareness Day is celebrated each year on April 2nd. It is one of the only three health issues to be recognized with its own day by the United Nations. According to Autism Speaks, Autism now affects over 3 million people in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide.
Awareness months are important and a good reminder for all of us to do our part and take action. However, for this month, its not just about taking action – it’s also about accepting a child or adult for who they are. Awareness and acceptance both require education. 1 and 68 children and 1 in 42 boys are diagnosed with Autism, so chances are, you probably know of or know a child with this disorder, which is why it is important to open up this discussion not only between adults – but also children.
Children should be taught early on to accept and understand people for their differences. This can pertain to being aware of a persons disability but also to accept people for all of the other differences we have, such as skin color, weight, gender, hair color, religion, etc. We need to teach children that being different isn’t a bad thing – it’s actually a very good thing! – and as adults, we need to model respect for everyone around us and embrace our own differences and complexities, so that children will learn to see the value in all people.
Did you also know that many children diagnosed with autism have trouble sleeping? It’s with this in mind that we decided to create and publish an article with tips for parents to help their autistic children get the sleep that they need. You can check it out here: Autism and Sleep: What Parents Need to Know.
Need an easy craft to do with your kids to spread awareness? Print out our Autism Awareness Puzzle Piece Fuse Bead Pattern!