Today is World Autism Awareness Day

My first job after graduating from college was as a teacher in a residential school for children with autism.  I was a young, bright-eyed college graduate, who thought she would make a major impact on childrens’ lives through this job.  The job impacted me much more than I impacted those children, I’m sure, and that year was one of the most challenging and eye-opening years of my life.

When I learned that April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day, I just had to blog about it.  I was shocked to read that the prevalence of autism has now climbed to a staggering 1 in 88 children in the U.S.  Autism is essentially an epidemic at this point.  It is one of those disorders that is so perplexing to me.  I remember watching a touching documentary that profiled families who have children with autism.  The most striking part of the documentary was when a mother tearfully described the moment she felt her son “slip away.”  She described her perfect baby boy hitting all his milestones and suddenly, at age 3, simply turning off – Her son no longer made eye contact, virtually stopped speaking, and entered an “other” world of repetition and seclusion.

If you or someone you know has a child with autism, please think of him/her today.  If anything, take a moment to familiarize yourself with Autism.  I like the website, AutismSpeaks.org.

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