Autism, a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with others, is being recognized all around the globe.
The government of B.C. recently announced that April will be proclaimed as Autism Awareness Month provincially to honour April 2nd, which is known as World Autism Awareness Day, to increase awareness of the autism support services and programs in B.C.
“In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, the Government of British Columbia is proud to reaffirm our commitment to those who live on the autism spectrum, as well as the advocates, family members and professionals who support and learn from them each day,” said Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development, in a recent press release. “In British Columbia, more than 11,700 children and youth are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).”
ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that’s characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviour that can be restricting. Typically, parents notice signs of ASD, such as the need for behavioural or social interventions, within the first two years of a child’s life.
However, the symptoms of ASD are becoming more widely recognized and solutions to cope with some of the challenges of living with ASD are continually growing.
“As diagnosis, knowledge and understanding of ASD has increased, so too has B.C.’s investment in supportive services,” said Cadieux on April 2nd. “Today, government provides more than $285 million annually for services that support children and youth with ASD and their families, including assessments, early intervention planning and education for students throughout B.C.”
The province’s support of Autism Awareness Day is geared toward building inclusive communities with strong support systems in place for families.
“When all citizens are supported in their unique needs, we create communities that are full of compassion and free of barriers to inclusion,” said Cadieux. “World Autism Awareness Day gives those with autism a chance to see their communities standing behind them in support — and that can make a world of difference in their lives. Join me in raising awareness of autism by wearing blue (in April) in honour of the positive impacts those with ASD have in our communities and the world.”