Today is a very special day for those who have been affected by autism. It is World Autism Awareness Day. My family was affected by it, as two of my nephews, Joe and Matt, have been touched by autism. They are both beautiful boys, and I love them very much.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and today is the day when autism is specifically targeted for better awareness until a cure can be found. Having a child with autism has been a great challenge for my sisters Maureen and Theresa. But I am proud of them for everything they have done for their sons.
Theresa sent me an email with many of the facts about autism:
Autism affects all persons regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status or geography.
The incidence of autism in the United States is 1 in 150 and 1 in 94 boys, with rates appearing to have increased similarly around the globe.
A child is diagnosed with autism every 20 minutes.
Based on data collected from North America, Western Europe and Japan, it is conservatively estimated that 35 million people worldwide have autism.
On December 18th 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139 World Autism Awareness Day by unanimous consent, encouraging UN MemberStates to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to promoteearly diagnosis and early behavioral intervention.
The aims for World Autism Awareness Day are to inform the general public about the global health crisis of autism, stress the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention, and to celebrate the unique talents and qualities of individuals with autism.
Autism is a lifelong condition in which the bulk of cost calls in adulthood, creating an enormous economic impact.
The consequent development challenges of autism threaten to undermine the achievement of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals.
The resolution designates World Autism Awareness Day as a United Nations Day to be observed every year starting in 2008 to raise global awareness of autism until the cure for autism is found.
More about autism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism
I have listed on my blog a number of very worthy charities that have done so much for those affected by autism. Many high profile celebrities have raised autism awareness, like Doug Flutie, Toni Braxton, Olie Kolzig and Jenny McCarthy. Here are the autism groups I have listed on my site:
Athletes Against Autism: http://www.athletesagainstautism.org/site/c.muL1J9MMKpH/b.925197/
Autism Society of America: http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer/
Autism Speaks: http://www.autismspeaks.org/
The Dan Marino Foundation: http://www.danmarinofoundation.org/
Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation For Autism: http://www.dougflutiejrfoundation.org/
Hopefully, a cure can be found for autism in our lifetime. While we continue to search for it, we can offer the most love and support we can to those who've been affected by this most mysterious condition.