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Autism Awareness Day

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability often associated with social, communication, and behavioral challenges. In most cases, people with ASD don’t look different from other people. However, they may communicate, interact, behave, or learn differently than most other people. People with ASD can be gifted or severely challenged in their abilities to learn, think, and solve problems. The amount of assistance needed by people with ASD varies greatly.

The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders is now a composite diagnosis, which includes autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. The condition typically starts during childhood and continues into adulthood. There are people with ASD in every racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic group, but it is about four times as common among boys as it is among girls. About 1 out of every 160 children worldwide has an ASD. Although there is still no single cause of ASD, early diagnosis facilitates access to resources and opportunities that aid people in living fulfilling lives.

April 2nd is observed as World Autism Awareness Day. The day recognizes and spreads awareness about the specific needs of people with autism. Autism does not currently have a cure. Despite this, research has shown that early intervention can benefit a child’s development. Providing early intervention services for children from birth to three years of age (36 months) helps them learn important life-skills. The child can benefit from therapy to improve communication, walking, and social interaction. For this reason, it is important to tell your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you suspect your child has ASD or other developmental difficulties.

The Bible affirms that every single human being is made by a good God in his own image. How do we reconcile a condition like autism with this? Does God makes mistakes? The same worldview that talks about a good Creator is never afraid to accept that there may be questions that we may never understand within our limited human understanding, due to their sheer eternal weight and dimensions, and also because we live in a deeply broken world. But even while we may not understand all the “whys”, this worldview gives us a deep moral resource to be able love even those who are very different from us. Because God not only creates us all, but loves each and every one of us at a very personal level. And he wants us to love, accept and embrace each other with the same love that he lavishly pours out on us, in spite of our differences, simply because we all share his image in us. What greater motivation can there be to truly embrace those with ASD?

“Do not fear people with autism, embrace them. Do not spite people with autism, unite them. Do not deny people with autism, accept them, for then their abilities will shine.” — Paul Isaacs

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