First, let me tell you why I care about autism. One of our family friends has a daughter that was recently diagnosed with it. I think when something hits close to home, it really starts to have an impact on you, and this certainly did for me! I heard stories of frustration over seeing specialist after specialist and getting rejected from various things. I can't remedy their situation, but I can spread awareness, in the hopes that it is a way of giving back (kinda!).
There are a lot of theories out there about where autism comes from/what it is caused by. I'm not interested in discussing that, because a lot of it is political. Quite frankly, there isn't enough research on it yet, either! What I do want to talk about is basic facts and resources that can be used with children with autism.
-Characteristics include difficulties with social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behavior
-Autism is a SPECTRUM and includes autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, PDD-NOS, and Asperger syndrome (NOTE: These will be all under the term ASD when the DSM-V comes out in May 2013).
-Associations: intellectual disability, difficulties with motor coordination, difficulties with attention, some difficulties with physical health
-roughly 1 in 88 children have autism (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls) in the United States...that's more than diabetes, cancer, or AIDS combined
-Autism Facts Sheet
-List of Autism Apps here
-The Autism Helper (blog)
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:
-Find an Autism Speaks walk near you
-Build-A-Bear Autism Speaks Bear (they donate money from each sale)
-Clothing companies with positive messages about autism (more info on Autism Speaks website)
By the way, Smart Apps for Kids is throwing a giveaway just for this day! You can enter to win an IPAD 2!!! Enter here.