April 2 was named by the United Nations in 2007 as World Autism Awareness Day in what has come to be known as Autism Awareness month.
A recent study put forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention displayed that 1 out of 88 children now have autism. Among boys, the rate is one in 54. That is almost five times higher than girls, where autism shows up in 1 out of 252. This now means more children are diagnosed with autism than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer or pediatric AIDS combined. The new study has the media buzzing, but is what’s being done about autism enough?
There have been many misconceptions about Autism Awareness Day that are still coming to light. Many argue that Autism Awareness Day is promoting acceptance and understanding rather than awareness.
Baystate Chief of Developmental Pediatrics Lawrence Kaplan argues that autism awareness needs to be raised so people better understand what exactly the disorder is and how to treat children with it. "A child with Autism Spectrum Disorder has difficulty projecting his or her perspective on another person and at the same time is having difficulty reading and interpreting another person's perspective," said Kaplan.
The best way to treat someone with autism is to catch it as early as possible, "Once a diagnosis is made, that opens up a set of resources that were not in existence 20 years ago," said Kaplan.