The month of April is a time to promote Autism awareness and to make sure that everyone who is affected can gain opportunities to succeed to their full potential in life. For those who are not fully aware of what exactly Autism is a, “it’s a brain-based disorder characterized by social-communication challenges and restricted repetitive behaviors, activities, and interests…” as stated by the Autism Science Foundation. Generally you can not see that an individual has Autism by their appearance, just by how they interact and behave. There is also no single cause for Autism, as it affects all genders and races. With more than 3.5 million having Autism, the Autism Society has really flourished. This society was founded in 1965, with the first Autism Awareness Month occurring in April 1970. There are many ways, big or small, that you can participate in spreading awareness for this cause the month of April!
The easiest and most popular aware to participate is by ¨sharing the puzzle¨. This symbol, which looks like a ribbon covered in puzzle pieces, is the most recognizable one among the community. You can pin it on your shirt, bag, or even post a picture of it on a social media platform. One fun way to participate in this important month is by going to the movies. Individuals affected by Autism are generally not able to go to the movies like others are. Children affected with Autism especially may find the darkness of the movie theater frightening along with the flashing lights and loud sounds projected from the film. AMC theaters are working on creating sensory friendly films, a lights up and sound down environment. These films are shown at AMC theaters on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. More mature films are shown on Tuesday nights. Show your support and attend a few! Another great way to participate is by donating to a credible organization. Three great and amazing organizations you can donate to are Autism Speaks, The Autism Society, and the Autism Research Foundation. The goals of these societies is to gain advancements in research for causes and cures as well as raising public awareness. Any donation can be one step further to finding a cure.
In New Jersey specifically, there are many ways to get involved. On April 23rd, a Walk for a Difference will be held in in Lakewood. There are also events such as bowling night, concerts, and plays to attend.
As stated by Autism Speaks the total NIH, national institute of health, budget in 2012 was $30.86 billion. Of that amount only $169 million actually goes to Autism research. At the end of the day, the main goal is to spread awareness for Autism and demonstrate the urgency for more Autism research.
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