MIL-OSI Australia: Wear blue to support autism

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Source: Australian Education Union

30 March 2021

Australians are being urged to wear something blue and to light up their schools, homes and businesses in recognition of people with autism on World Autism Awareness Day, Friday 2 April.

April is also Autism Awareness Month and Autism Speaks, a global organisation advocating and supporting global autism research, is encouraging communities around the world to spread, share and support kindness for people living with autism.

2021 marks the 14th annual World Autism Awareness Day. The event was first held to support understanding and acceptance of autism in its many forms and has raised awareness worldwide.

The term autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, emphasises that autism presents differently in every person, says support and advocacy organisation Autism Awareness Australia. Symptoms of autism may begin in early childhood and persist for life. One in 100 Australians has an ASD.

Understanding autism

Common challenges for people with ASD include social communication and interaction, which may make it difficult to develop and maintain age-appropriate relationships, and restricted and repetitive behaviours that may affect daily activities.

Other difficulties include language delays, which are common with ASD, difficulties with non-verbal communication and oversensitivity to sounds, smells or touch. Children with ASD often have restricted or fixated interests such as choosing to play with certain toys or limiting discussion to specific topics.

Autism is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups across the globe.

Support and research

Many online forums and social media support groups are available to assist Australians affected by ASD. These include: ASD matters, Autistic not Weird and Yellow Ladybugs, a support group for girls living with autism.

Research organisations across the are world working to investigate causes and treatment options for people with ASD.

What can your school do?

Autism Awareness Australia offers educational support and resources for teachers and students. The organisation encourages everyone to support its fundraising projects.

Sue Larkey, an educator with decades of experience teaching students with autism, offers a range of advice and resources for teachers and schools, including workshops, a blog, newsletters and a regular podcast that aims to increase inclusion for people with autism.

Students of all ages can help to raise awareness of autism on World Autism Awareness Day by:

  • Wearing something blue every day during April
  • Creating sensory stations in their schools and classrooms for students with ASD
  • Reading and discussing books about autism
  • Hosting a blue-themed dress-up day to raise funds for ASD research.

To find out more go to:

autismspeaks.org

autismawareness.com.au

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