April is Autism Awareness Month – an annual observance celebrating and promoting acceptance for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. It can affect an individual’s ability to socialize and is also associated with sensitivity to light, sound, and touch, hyperactivity and repetitive behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the United States today. It is the fastest-growing group of developmental disabilities in the world with no known cure, although research indicates specialized therapies and medication may assist with reducing seizures and some behaviors associated with ASD. In the past, those with ASD had been viewed as having a disorder. However, the latest research sheds light on thinking and processing skills, resulting in a shift towards a strength-oriented view.

Here are some ways in which you can demonstrate support:

  • Add #LightItUpWithKindness to your social accounts or bring attention with #CelebrateDifferences or #WorldAutismMonth.
  • Show your support by wearing blue. Shop the official Autism Speaks Store.
  • Take the pledge to help create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential. By taking the pledge, you will be given the information, resources, and tools to engage and advocate in your community. You can take the pledge here.