Today is the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day. The theme this year, from Autism Speaks, is Light It Up Blue with landmarks like the Empire State Building going blue tonight. This starts a month of awareness events to shine a light on the issues around autism. World autism Awareness Day was started in 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly.
It is estimated that 1 in every 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum. That's about 1.5M Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is the most prevalent developmental disorder to date. Studies suggest that boys are more likely to be born with it than girls but girls appear to develop the more severe types of autism.
From the Autism Speaks website:
Will my child be able to attend school?
Most likely yes. Much depends on where your child falls on the spectrum, but with your support, as well as that of doctors, therapists and teachers, your child should be able to attend school. In fact, it's his right: According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990, which mentions autistic children specifically, your child deserves access to a “free and appropriate” education funded by the government, whether it be in a mainstream or special education classroom.
Working for Autism Speaks, a law firm put together a 26-page guide for parents and students that contains an IEP timeline.
There's also a great poster at the Executive Healthcare site, showing facts and by the numbers for autism.
As someone whose family has been affected by autism, I want to give a pat on the back to families and friends with an autistic loved one who are also affected.