Thursday, April 2, 2015

Light it up Blue - April 2 (World Autism Awareness Day)

My first experience with autism was with an Indian Television Drama, where a child played an autistic role. I never missed the show as it was very useful, very real and very close to my heart. The show helped people like us understand the needs of people suffering from this condition and to deal with them sensitively. In real, I saw two people with this condition and I thought they were just very special and unique. Though Autism is not very prevalent in Bhutan, there are some people living with this condition. It is important for us to realize that they are not different; they are just like us, even more special.
On April 2 (since 2008), the world observes the World Autism Awareness Day every year. I found out through a small research that the day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly. It was proposed by Qatar and supported by all other member states and was adopted on December 18, 2007 accordingly. This was to emphasize on the need to help improve the quality of life of people who are affected by autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives.
“Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person's life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person's communication and social interaction skills”.
Some facts about Autism (via google):
  • Autism is a wide-spectrum disorder. This means that no two people with autism will have exactly the same symptoms.
  • Many of those who are affected by autism have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills.
  • If the symptoms are not severe, the people affected with autism seem socially clumsy, sometimes offensive in his/her comments, or out of sync with everyone else. If the symptoms are more severe, the person may seem not to be interested in other people at all.
  • A person with autism will find it much harder to understand the feelings of other people. His/her ability to instinctively empathize with others is much weaker than other people's.
  • A number of children with an ASD do not like cuddling or being touched like other children do. It is wrong to say that all children with autism are like that.
  • A person with autism usually finds sudden loud noises unpleasant and quite shocking. The same can happen with some smells and sudden changes in the intensity of lighting and ambient temperature.
  • The higher the severity of the autism, the more affected are a person's speaking skills. People with autism will often repeat words or phrases they hear - an event called echolalia.
  • People with autism often have obsessions.

The theme of the World Autism Day 2015 is Employment: The Autism Advantage. More than 80% of adults with autism are estimated to be unemployed. It would be interesting to share here that a German software company announced in May 2013 that it would employ hundreds of people with autism as software testers, programmers and data quality assurance specialists. 

Light it up blue is dedicated to raising awareness of autism, This initiative is intended to raise international awareness of autism in support of World Autism Awareness Day.

Me and my loved ones are wearing and carrying blue today. We are doing our bit to create awareness on Autism. Are you?