Autism Awareness Month 2017

I am different, not less.
I am unique, not unusual.
I am capable, not unable.
I am not like you, I am extraordinary.
I am me, not my diagnosis.

April is Autism Awareness Month & at Ink, we care. We strive to make a difference in the world, tackling one cause at a time.

What is it?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the name for a group of developmental disorders that include a “spectrum” of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability. ASD refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. It is also notably accompanied by unique strengths and differences. Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between ages 2 and 3 years old — you can find the symptoms here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates Autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls (2016). I can personally guarantee you know someone that has an Autism diagnosis. If not, make more friends.

Stigma

Diagnostic labels leave a lot of room for inclusion and exclusion. Having a diagnosis of Autism isn’t something that you have to be ashamed about. The goal of Autism advocacy should be a world in which individuals with an Autism diagnosis enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as all other citizens.

What can you do?

Be an advocate. Set an example for others. Treat everyone the same — regardless of their social quirks. Sometimes I stutter when I’m nervous. One of my coworker’s cheeks turn red and it’s easy to tell he is feeling some type of way. In certain situations, I find it to be uncomfortable to make eye contact. It doesn’t make us any less human. We are who we are — different and all…but that should not isolate us from others. Speak up and be heard.

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