Autism Awareness Week
The blog will cover what Autism Awareness Week is, when it is, the importance of it and how to get involved!
What is World Autism Awareness Week?
Autism Awareness Week aims to improve people’s understanding and awareness of people and children with autism. By increasing the awareness of autism, it aims to promote the importance of detecting an early diagnosis.
The awareness week runs from 29th March to the 4th April 2020. This week includes the 2nd April, which is World Autism Awareness Day, which has been celebrated since 2007, highlighting and celebrating the achievements of people who have autism. During this week, many Schools and Universities hold events to increase the knowledge and understanding of autism.
World Autism Day is also one of the seven official health specific days of the UN days. It relates to the 8th sustainable development goal of promoting ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ for ALL people, including people with disabilities. Article 17 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities identifies that people with disabilities should be treated equally in the workplace and that working environments should be open, inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.
What is Autism?
Defined by the National Autistic Society, Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects the communication and interaction of those that are diagnosed. Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning it affects people in different ways. Some autistic people may have difficulties with social situations, experience extreme anxiety or carry out restrictive and repetitive behaviours for example. For more information on autism, please visit: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/what-is-autism
1 in 100 people in the UK are on the autistic spectrum, which accounts for 700,000 people in the UK currently. Despite every person on the autistic spectrum having different experiences and needs, this day aims to increase the awareness of what autism is and how it is affecting the rights of autistic people by standing up for these and highlighting the obstacles such as educational, health and social obstacles that many autistic people face.
The importance of the week
Since the COVID19 pandemic, the restrictions have made life more difficult for autistic people and their families. The restrictions have meant many support services have been closed, meaning the accessibility to support reduced significantly and for some families, no support was/is available.
The National Autistic Society UK, along with its supporters, have had a government recognised campaign, ensuring autistics people’s needs are taken into account by the UK Government. More recently, autistic people have now been included in the mask exceptions and have been given greater opportunities to exercise.
How to get involved
This week is about increasing people’s awareness of autism, as well as fundraising for the charities and support services which have continuously been providing support sessions, classes and events before and during the COVID pandemic, now online.
To get involved, you could:
- Get involved with the Super 7 Challenge organised by the National Autistic Society. You could run, walk or cycle 7k, do a 7-minute workout, organise a 7-round virtual quiz, bake a 7-tier cake :D – you choose how to get involved and any donations will go to the charity!
- Do some research on autism and how it can affect a person’s life (and their family) and share this on social media so more people become aware
- Share some of the resources online to help promote awareness - https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/raise-money/world-autism-awareness-week/waaw-in-the-workplace
- Make a donation online today - https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/donate#fff9b6ff-17dc-41f2-bba5-e3a08694c7f3
- Organise and host a quiz with your friends and each donate £1-2 and then send this as a donation online to the National Autistic Society
- Decide to volunteer! There are lots of opportunities to help volunteer from trying to help raise money to being an activities officer for a few hours a month! You could decide to do this over the summer months. This is a great way to help the charity and also looks great on your CV! For more info: https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer
The National Autistic Society has also created some resources like quizzes to help increase your own knowledge of autistic people, including some well- known celebrities who are autistic such as Anne Heggerty (from The Chase UK).
There are several ways you can get involved in this week, whether you donate a small amount or simply share information on socials. Do get involved and let’s help raise awareness and support! - Milena
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