Five A’s for Autism
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March 2014, 1 in 68 US children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which is a 30% increase from 1 in 88 two years ago. With the increase in statistics, naturally intensified concern has been directed towards autism.
World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd. Since 2007, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with fund-raising and awareness-raising events. It is long-awaited that literally the “world” is becoming “aware” of autism, and, at the same time, it is of the utmost importance to make this awareness both practical and significant. I propose “Five A’s for autism”:
1. AWARENESS: We have become aware that the diagnoses of autism are on the rise. Practicality and significance: More and more people of all ages and backgrounds are affected by this disorder, so it is more likely to touch someone you know.
2. ATTENTION: We can pay attention to the signs of autism. Practicality and significance: Autism can only be diagnosed by observation, so it is up to everyone in the child’s life to be watchful.
3. ACTION: We can report what we see and hear to the child’s caregivers, educators, doctors, and family and friends. Practicality and significance: The earlier a diagnosis of autism is established, the sooner treatment which involves the help of all of the significant people in the child’s life can begin for the best quality of life.
4. ACCEPTANCE: While treatment helps the child progress through life, autism presents challenges throughout the lifespan. We need to be sensitive to the differences that people with autism have. Practicality and significance: Our focus is on the person, not the disability.
5. ADVOCACY: When we have become fully aware, attentive, action-oriented, and accepting of the person with autism, we must advocate for them. Practicality and significance: At the heart of autism is difficulty relating to other people in society and trouble communicating. Therefore, people with autism rely on us to be their voices and their supporters.
Awareness is absolutely an important first step. Let's go beyond and keep in mind the "Five A's" on Autism Awareness Day. And everyday.
-KKS About the author: Karen Kabaki-Sisto, M.S. CCC-SLP, has been a communication expert for over 20 years. As a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and Applied Behavior Analysis Instructor, Karen has been empowering people with autism & special needs to have more meaningful conversations like never before. Her highly effective I CAN! For Autism Method™ - perfected for over 10 years and now incorporated within the iPad app “I Can Have Conversations With You!™” - is changing lives through improved social and language skills. It is 100% fun for both kids and adults to use! Join the conversation at www.iCanForAutism.com. You’ll find expert care for your child such as Karen’s Free Communication Assessment Tool. This private, online step by step question & answer evaluation, provides an immediate report showing where a parent, teacher, or professional may want to spend more time in certain area of learning & development: http://www.proprofs.com/survey/t/?title=autism-assessment-tool