April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day

Autism affects approximately 1 out of every 150 children around the world. It is a complex life-long neurodevelopment disorder that influences the way a person communicates and relates to others and the world.

It is commonly characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors and have limited interests. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas.

Autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. It is now the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in Canada. It affects people of all ethnicities across geographical and socioeconomic boundaries. While it appears to have its roots in very early brain development, the most obvious signs and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between ages 2 and 3.

While autism is usually a life-long condition, increased awareness, early diagnosis, and access to appropriate services and support mechanisms often lead to significantly improved outcomes. Children and adults benefit from interventions or therapies that can reduce symptoms and increase skills and abilities. Although it is best to begin intervention as soon as possible, the benefits of therapy can continue throughout life.

People with autism and sensory challenges can have many struggles when it comes to clothing. Clothing tags, exposed elastic bands, and itchy clothes can make it hard for those suffering from autism to find comfortable clothes to wear. Many people with autism may also have extremely sensitive tactile skin or gross motor skills, and getting dressed each day can be a battle on its own. However, easy-to-dress clothing with hidden helpers like ‘no buttons’, ‘no zippers’, ‘no tags’, and ‘no laces’ can facilitate people to get dressed independently and look just like everyone else.

On April 2, thousands of iconic landmarks and buildings join the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities around the world to “light blue” in support of people living with autism. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place throughout the month of April, the World Autism Month, to increase understanding and acceptance and further support people with autism.

Join the thousands of people across the world who wear blue on April 2 in honor of the millions of individuals and families affected by autism.

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