April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2, 2011 is Autism Awareness Day. The Autism Society is working in conjunction with Gerardine Wurzburg, academy award winning producer/director of documentaries about autism, to raise awareness with the release of her new film. It is a feature-length film documentary called “Wretches and Jabberers” and should successfully raise awareness about this puzzling disease as intended. Look for listings and see it.
Sensory friendly films shown in AMC theaters across the USA are for autistic individuals and their families, and a pleasant way to honor awareness month is to support such efforts. The films are meant to be entertaining, but easier for those with already stressed senses to attend. The lights are up and the sound is lowered, and there are no previews or ads shown before the feature. Families are welcome to bring their own gluten-free and casein-free snacks along. No one has to stay in his/her seat because it is all right to dance, sing, shout or walk around during the showing, within the bounds of safe practices. Prices range from $4-$6 depending on location.
Various health organizations have websites that give information about autism and offer ways to support research. Google “autism” and have a snack because it’s a long read. There are lists of local chapters of supporting organizations in which to volunteer, donate money or organize a fund-raiser. There are even suggestions of what to do for a fund-raiser. All you do is click, in most cases, to help the cause. Even the most die-hard screen junkies can participate.
Sport a puzzle-pieces ribbon to raise awareness. Buy one of many products that do so, like shirts, mugs, wrist bands, license plates, bumper stickers and key chains. Write to legislators to encourage them to vote for the passage of needed laws that will create more research or improve insurance coverage for diagnosis and treatment, and certainly prevention. There are conferences at various times and locations throughout the year to attend or volunteer for anytime, not just in Autism Awareness Month.
Last but not least, provide support for a caregiver of an autistic individual. Set up babysitting and pay for it. Help provide the type of food to the caregiver that is good for the autistic person with specific dietary needs. Listen to the caregiver’s concerns and be a friend. This is invaluable and cannot be bought; it is a very important aspect of helping this society beat autism. The caregivers are at the battlefront and need all the help they can get. Doctors and researchers are working overtime to find the cure as well.
Make yourself feel good in Autism Awareness Month–do something.