With World Autism Awareness Day held on Tuesday 2 April and World Autism Awareness Week from Monday 1 April to Sunday 7 April, disability advocates say it's a great way to raise awareness for the neurological condition one in 100 people in Australia live with.
This years theme is “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation”, focussing attention on how digital and assistive technologies can help people with autism 'reduce or eliminate the barriers to their participation on an equal basis with others.'
Chief Executive Officer of Autism Awareness Australia Nicole Rogerson is encouraging the community to get involved in World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).
“In saying all of that, for me WAAD is an opportunity for us to focus on the many stories and issues that affect people on the Spectrum to continue the conversation about how to improve outcomes, ensure true inclusion and better support individuals with autism and their families.
“Autism is a complex condition and it manifests itself very different, so the issues around autism are as vast as the spectrum itself.
“Recognising that and working together as a community is the only way forward,” she says.
One of the personal stories shared on WAAD is the story of Rose and her son Mark. Rose feels life would be easier if people took the time to understand her 13 year old son Mark and how his diagnosis affects him and his family.
“If I meet somebody new and I tell them my son has autism, I don’t want them to feel sorry for me or my family. I certainly think that I was blessed to have Mark. He’s with us for a reason. So I don’t mind people asking questions if it helps them better understand autism.
Rose says Mark has achieved so much.
“He certainly can have a nice conversation with you. He’s independent in all sorts of ways.”
Autism Awareness Australia’s campaign #OurAutismCrew celebrates the autism community including people on the spectrum, their families and friends, educators, employers and medical and health professionals.
The campaign is calling on people to submit a photo and explain why they’re so special, which will be shared on Autism Awareness Australia’s social media pages throughout the week until April 12.
You can share your story here.