The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Miranda Berry, MS, LPCC, Outpatient Therapist.
April is National Autism Awareness Month, with World Autism Awareness Day occurring on April 2nd.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects an individual’s behavior and communication. Since autism is a developmental disorder, symptoms typically surface within the first few years of life. However, autism is a “spectrum disorder” because symptoms vary widely.
Wherever an individual falls on the spectrum, autism awareness is needed to increase understanding of the disorder and acceptance – which is what National Autism Awareness month is all about.
So, what can you do to raise awareness this year for National Autism Awareness Month? Keep reading to find out.
Related: Developmental Disabilities: Aspberger’s Syndrome
Educate Yourself on Autism
The first step is to learn about autism spectrum disorder. This includes things like the signs and symptoms, causes and risks, as well as treatment options. Learn more about autism on our specialty area page.
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If someone close to you has autism, provide support where you can. It does wonders for not only their mental health but yours as well.
In addition, support can include therapy. Therapy allows individuals to learn and apply skills that will help improve their relationships and well-being. Miranda Berry touches on her experience working with those on the autism spectrum:
As a clinician working with patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder; I have recognized the importance of increased support for individuals and their loved ones. These supports include but are not limited to; Individual and Family Therapy, Play Therapy, as well as Occupational Therapy which allows patients and families to gain skills to recognize and understand social cues and communicate needs appropriately.
Not only is it important to provide support for those with autism, but it is also critical to check in on the family members of an autistic individual. They deserve love and support, too, and not just during Autism Awareness Month.
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Lastly, learn to embrace differences amongst others and reduce the stigma surrounding autism. Everyone is different, which is what makes them unique and special.
Embracing differences is something that continues to grow, as explained by Miranda Berry.
According to The Autism Research Institute, In March 2020, the US Federal Centers for Disease Control announced that 1 in every 54 children in the United States is affected by ASD. Recently in mainstream media, the term, “Neurodivergent,” has been used to recognize that brain differences are quite normal and shouldn’t be stigmatized as a deficit. We as a society are learning to embrace that those diagnosed with ASD – interact with, experience, and interpret the world in unique ways.
To be a more inclusive world, we need to spread kindness. That can start with you! What’s one act of kindness you can perform today?
A Word From Nystrom & Associates
In conclusion, there are many ways to raise awareness about autism, not just what we’ve covered in this article. Another way to raise awareness is to help spread the word about autism. Feel free to share this article and help with our mission.
If you’d like to make an appointment for individual, family, or play therapy, call 1-844-NYSTROM or fill out a simple request form appointment online.
Source: Nystrom & Associates