April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. This special day recognizes and celebrates people on the autism spectrum and advocates for continued research and fundraising for autism.
Our understanding of autism has significantly changed over the years. In fact, up until the second half of the 20th century, most autism diagnoses were only for people who showed severe symptoms, and many of these people were institutionalized. During this time, autism was believed to be the result of insufficient parenting or vaccinations and was not recognized as the neurological disorder that we know it is today.
In 2007, the organization Autism Speaks created Autism Awareness Day, and the UN passed a resolution to adopt the holiday. In 2008, Autism Awareness Day was recognized worldwide. Each year on April 2, Autism Awareness Day celebrates the individuals, families and communities who live with autism for their diversity and unique talents.
Here are some simple ways you can join with people across the world and celebrate Autism Awareness Day on April 2:
- Get involved – Participate in “Light It Up Blue” Day, where people are encouraged to wear blue in recognition of autism. You can also participate in a fundraiser for Light It Up Blue and mail your donations to Autism Speaks.
- Join a march – Each year The Power of One march takes place in Washington, D.C. It unites the autism community as one, showing support and love for those with autism. Other cities may host their own marches as well.
- Stay educated – Don’t let myths and misconceptions cloud your understanding of autism. Credible organizations publish articles and host seminars about autism, many of which are open to the public. Be intentional about understanding what autism is and how you can support people who live with it.