April is national autism awareness month

Jalissa Long-Jolley, Copy Editor

Not only was April 2 the eighth Annual World Autism Awareness Day, but for more than 50 years, April has officially been recognized as National Autism Awareness Month.

According to various websites such as www.autism-society.org, Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD, is a lifelong mental disability characterized, but not limited to, difficulties with communication and social interactions, repetitive behaviors, obsessive interests, and health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. 1 in every 68 Americans live with Autism which is more than 3.5 million people in the US alone.

Www.autismspeaks.org and websites alike, explain that there is no cure for Autism and has been proven that there is more than one cause. Most causes can be a combination of Autism risk genes and environmental factors. The lifespan cost for one american living with autism is estimated to being around 2.4 million for intellectual disabilities or 1.4 million without intellectual disabilities.

Not only does autism affect a person’s health and financial state, but it can also affect their relationships with other individuals as well.

The word “Autism” can be ignorantly welcomed with judgments from the people of today’s society.

However, in recent years, both autistic children and adults have given autism a new voice.

The popular video, “Autism Barista or AKA dancing Barista”, shows Sam, an autistic 17 year old who was once told he would never be employed, dancing to some music while working at his job at Starbucks. Soon after the video received over 66 million views, both Sam and his employer, Chris, found themselves on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

“Chris just said, you’ve got the job, and in that moment my life changed. My whole world changed,” Sam said.

National Autism Awareness Month not only raises awareness to autism, but also helps include and determinate anyone living with it. Presidential/ congressional declarations, online events and activities, local events, and partner opportunities are a few ways in which this month spreads awareness.

April may have been the month of awareness, but autism did not just go away when the month ended. Reality is, Autism is inescapable for so many people. Though this is true, we can all take part in helping people not let autism hold them down, whether that be through proceeding in a career involved around autism or simply participating in fundraisers and spreading awareness daily.

“I chose my profession because I wanted to help those who couldn’t help themselves. But, as the years past, I have realized working with students with special needs gives me more than i could ever give them,” RMS special education teacher Kaleigh Dutton said.