What is World Autism Day?
This year World Autism Day is on the 2nd of April.
World Autism Awareness Day celebrates the unique talents of individuals with autism and focuses on embracing and welcoming such skills through community and global events.
World Autism Awareness Day further aims to highlight the challenges people with autism face each day.
The awareness and exposure of autism is growing steadily due to increasing news coverage and public knowledge and understanding.
Activities for World Autism Awareness Day are planned each year to expand further and develop world knowledge of children and adults who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
What is autism?
Autism is a spectrum condition that presents in various ways.
Common difficulties autistic individuals may share are social communication and social interaction challenges, repetitive behaviour, and over- or under-sensitivity to touch, sound, light, or taste.
Like all people, autistic people have their own personal strengths and weaknesses.
The definition of autism has been everchanging over time and could even change in future years as we understand more.
Some people feel the spectrum is too broad, arguing two people with different autistic needs cannot be compared.
However, the National Autistic Society states they often find that autistic people and their families with different support needs share many of the same challenges such as:
- getting enough support from mental health
- social care services
- being misunderstood by people close to them
How many people are autistic?
Knowing how many autistic people there are (autism prevalence) is important for several reasons,
- including helping to provide support
- showing the sheer number and diversity of autistic people.
Autism prevalence is not the same as the number of autistic people who have a diagnosis. This is because many autistic people might not have been identified or even know themselves, they have autism.
As the understanding of autism has grown, the estimated prevalence has also changed.
Government prevalence surveys last estimated that around one in 100 people are autistic. However, these are only estimates, and other surveys and international estimates suggest autism prevalence is higher.
The National Autistic Society suggests the UK government should do more research to find an updated figure as they believe more than one in 100 people are autistic, which means more than 700,000 people in the UK.
Having an accurate prevalence figure is vital to improve support and understanding, and to create a society that works for autistic people.
How will I be celebrating World Autism Day?
As someone who comes from a neurodivergent family and has relatives with autism, I really enjoy raising awareness about World Autism Day!
I will choose to wear blue in order to raise awareness and I will also be binging some of my favourite tv shows which positively promote and bring awareness to autism.
Personally, I enjoy Netflix’s show ‘Atypical’ which follows an autistic young man who starts attending college from high school despite the low statistics of autistic people accessing higher education.
I also enjoy the show ‘Love on the Spectrum’ which follows the dating lives of autistic adults who begin their dating journeys, sometimes with the help of dating coach Jodi Rodgers who specialises in helping people with autism navigate the world of dating.