Everyday Should be Autism Awareness Day


Time to spread the love

Anna Lee

April is not any ordinary month: the flowers are blooming and the rain is pouring. However, it is a special month: National Autism Awareness Month. A month to recognize and take measures of awareness about this disability.


Most people have heard of autism, but don’t understand what it is. It is a mental condition that is present from early childhood. 1 in 45 children, age 3 to 17, have been diagnosed with ASD, which is Autism Spectrum Disorder. The “autism spectrum” reflects a wide variation in challenges and strengths. ASD is characterized by social interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behavior.


Interpreting what others are thinking is socially difficult for children and adults with autism. Many people can only process one sense at a time, and little distractions like talking loudly or using hand gestures can interfere with the conversation.


A communication challenge in a mildly affected child may develop precocious language and unusually large vocabulary. Kids and adults can have difficulty keeping a conversation but can carry a monologue on a favorite subject. It’s important to give time and be patient to people with autism when in a conversation.


Adults and kids with such a disorder need extreme consistency in their environment and daily routine. In kids this could be seen as having their toys being lined up in a specific way. Adults could mimic this behavior with household items and respond the same way a child would by having an outburst if it was messed up.


Autism is a lifelong condition, but with therapy, symptoms can be reduced and increase unique skills and abilities. Oakdale is getting involved by having a Unified Sports Class next year for the students. There are 24 students signed up for the new class, and it consists of working hard in the fitness room, lifting in the weight room, and playing many sports. The class will be divided into small groups that are the students’ teams. Also students at the school can help lead the class and build friendships with the students taking the course. Coach Rubin says, “This is a good way for the students to interact with each other and enjoy the class”.


Students at Oakdale with autism and other disabilities go to school facing challenges everyday. The Unified Sports Class is a way to be involved everyday with students who have a disability. April comes to an end but autism doesn’t and we need to appreciate the unique talents the students use everyday.