BY DANIELLE OBAL
One in 68 children in Canada are diagnosed and living with an autism spectrum disorder and this is why the month of April commemorates National Autism Awareness.
It’s the fastest growing disorder affecting the brain and that’s why there is a specialized fundraiser called “Inside Out for Autism,” being held across Canada.
Autism can be detected in a child as young as a year old, with symptoms ranging from having difficulty interacting in social situations and struggling with the progression of speech and language.
It’s a lifelong disorder that impacts social skills, motor skills and brain development, but with awareness campaigns, therapy is becoming more accessible for those who need assistance.
Inside Out for Autism is a campaign promoted by Autism Canada, a grassroots organization that raises awareness and hosts fundraisers to educate others on the disorder.
More importantly, they hope to promote the message of acceptance for those who have autism and have been working to do so since 1976.
What is Inside Out for Autism?
Throughout the month of April, Autism Canada is asking for participants to choose a day to wear shirts inside out in support of those living with autism. It’s a province-wide campaign with multiple schools and organizations taking part each year.
They hope to reach a goal of $100 000 in donation funds with 80 per cent of money raised staying in the province to go toward Autism Canada’s resource programs.
The programs aim to help with basic life skills that include helpful apps on how to live a healthy lifestyle, anti-bullying seminars and connecting families to others who have family members with autism.
As children with autism reach adulthood, 80 per cent find themselves unemployed.
How can we raise awareness so that individuals who have autism can be self-sufficient in life and in the workplace?
Autism Speaks has a helpful resource called “My Job Chart” that teaches someone with autism the importance of work and what it’s like to be in the workforce and overall decision-making skills. The chart is an education tool aimed at teaching and managing money, time and learning to problem solve.
In order to spread awareness about autism, The Sheridan Sun is sharing this archived interview of Sheridan alumnus Alex Lai, who has Aspberger’s, interviewing another Sheridan student, Ian MacIntyre, who is autistic. In the video below, they share their stories.
Raising awareness is important for initiatives like Autism Speaks and Autism Canada in order for the organizations to continue to offer life-skills services geared towards helping those with autism.